Benefits of Good Road Network

THE road transport has undeniable socio-economic benefits which are often underestimated in difference to its negative impacts.
Indeed, the weight of the road transport sector within the economy is considerable not only in qualitative terms but also in economic terms such as source of wealth, employment and in terms of support given to other economic activities.
Through numerous mechanisms, investments in the road sector benefit the whole society by providing access to territory and allowing poverty alleviation to take place.
Consequently the road network creates and stimulates positive synergy and enhanced social cohesion and integration by giving citizens access to the same opportunities.
In 1991, it was the general policy of the Government to provide an enabling environment for active private sector participation in the direct provisions of goods and services through the good road networks.
Most of the people including donors such as the World Bank and the European Union believes road are at the heart of the social and economic development.
In most cases, supporting the road sector means contributing to the social and economic development.
The sheer reach of the road networks make them an almost universal land transport infrastructure.
Currently, there has been a global interest in a balanced social and economic development as in today’s World a development, no matter how far it may seem away, can have an impact on everyone.
The development of transport especially road transport was one of the key features of the past fifty years as it reduces friction of distance, thereby increasing or facilitating trade.
The good road network has allowed the improvement of movements of people and goods which removes barriers and led to an overall better standard of living.
The improvement of the road to bituminous standard has raised a lot of excitement among motorists who are not spending less than an hour to reach the final destinations unlike in the past when they were spending about three hours just from Chipata to reach Vubwi and others were preferring using the Malawi route.
Michael Zulu a resident of Mbande said the move taken by Government to tar the road would benefit the people.
Mr Zulu said the Government should be commended for engaging a Chinese contractor to do the road.
“It was like hell moving on this road but we are happy with the new development because we will now be able to transport products without difficulties,” he said.
Lameck Njobvu of Feni area said the Patriotic Front(PF) Government should be commended for the road project.
“I wish to express gratitude to the Government for Chipata-Vubwi-Chadiza Road because it is one of the vital roads,” he said.
China Jiangxi International Corporation (CJIC) was awarded a contract to tar the 139 kilometres (KMs) stretch of the Chipata-Vubwi-Chadiza road via Feni Sub-Centre at a total cost of K529, 047,638.88.
However, it was not disputable that the ongoing construction works of road was of the projects which would foster developmental projects.
This development was part of a global social development to which individuals and companies choices technological innovations and the quest for rapidly comfort and freedom contribute as in every process of development.
Eastern Province Minister Malozo Sichone and Paramount Chief Mpezeni of the Ngoni Speaking People expressed opportunistic that the construction of Chipata-Vubwi-Chadiza road by CJIC would be completed as soon as possible.
The Paramount Chief said that the Chinese contractor was busy working on the road Chipata-Vubwi-Chadiza road which had been in a deplorable state.
“They are busy working on the road and I am opportunistic that the tarring works will be completed as soon as possible,” Chief Mpezeni said.
And the minister said he was impressed with the pace of the road how it was going on.
He said he was sure that with the road de-tours which the contractor had done the main road would be tarred.
“I am impressed with the pace in which the construction company is working on this road (Chipata-Vubwi -Chadiza) I am assured that the contractor will finish as soon as possible,” Mr Sichone said.
The Government’s economic policies have been clearly spelt out in a number of policy documents ranging from vision 2030 to the revised Sixth National Development Plan (SNDP) and the revised decentralisation policy.
The minister said it was the duty of the Government to make its economic and regional development policies crystal clear.
CJIC project manager Lin Ning underlines that a lot of people have been employed during the road construction.
Mr Lin said the company believes in creating the jobs for the local people who live around the area where it was undertaking the projects.
The upgrading of the road by CJIC would easy transportation of goods and movement of people.
Chadiza District Commissioner Paul Phiri told CJIC representative Xiaocheng Guan that the road was more important to the three districts.
“This road as far as I am concerned is more important to my district which happens to be Chadiza, Chipata and Vubwi as you might be aware the road like from Vubwi and Chadiza was completely cut off but atleast you have opened up the road network and is now passable,”Mr Phiri said.
It has always been said that the transport infrastructure plays an important role as a catalyst in economic development by integrating society where people and resources were able to move and change so as to achieve their full potential.
The Government recognises the importance of transport in facilitating economic growth, poverty reduction and employment creation in the country.
Better attention to rural roads and appropriate community participation has been shown to enhance the quality of citizenship in Zambia.
Last year, President Michael Sata said he was very impressed that the road was taking shape.
Mr Lin said the construction of the road by his company would ease transportation of goods and movements of people.
The project manager said his company was determined to build a perfect stretch of the road network in the three districts which would have a longer lifespan.
“We don’t want when we leave people should start complaining that the road is not durable. We want to be part of the legacy of a good road network in Eastern Province,” he explained.
The Government should be supported by the all Zambians regardless of a political affiliation because it was there to improve the infrastructure developments such as road construction.
This is the first time the 139-KM stretch was being upgraded to bituminous standard since 1964 when Zambia got its independence from the colonial masters.
The road transport has a significant impact on the environment such as accidents and pollution.
The balance between the costs and benefits of roads cannot be easily determined as estimations of externalities are not always feasible, especially not in monetary units.
The weight of the road transport sector within the economy was a considerable not only in qualitative terms but also in economic terms such as source of wealth and in terms of support given to other economic activities.
The value added by road transport is estimated to account for five per cent towards the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
However, the value added by road transport was expected to be higher than five per cent.
According to Davis Mwanamoya, the road transport involves a wide range of activities that include car, manufacturing, road maintenance, garage, road haulliers and public service.
Globally these constitute one of the primary economic functions above all in developing countries.
Currently, the road transport sector was an efficient and growing sector.
Moreover the road transport infrastructure was one of the most durable productive assets.
The particularity of the road transport which makes the mode of transport so attractive compared to other transport modes was that it offers time savings.
Thus roads as a flexible and rapid mode of transport which allow other economic sectors to face structural change.
In addition, by generously contributing to public finances, road transport has indirect positive effectives on economies.
In other words, major indirect benefits from road transport are derived from the fact that the sector of finances other public spending which can be of importance for a society such as the social security systems.
The majority of economic activities depend in one way or the other on the road transport.
As a consequence, the good functioning of roads and related activities was one of the essential prerequisites for economy as it provides intermediate services to facilitate interactions between production facilities.
It is undisputed that although roads are one major contributor to public finances but investments in the roads sometimes decrease.
The road sector has direct and indirect effects on employment because it was creating jobs due to investments in infrastructure developments such as construction.
In a nutshell, the availability of a good road network in any country is an essential to national development.
With good roads and bridges, one is assured of effective and timely delivery and timely delivery of goods and services across the country.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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