MOTORISTS should brace to pay more for travelling as Government plans to establish 30 more tollgates to raise more money for road infrastructure development.
This will bring to 52, the number of tollgates countrywide. Government collects about $3 million monthly from tollgates, a figure that it argues is not enough for road infrastructure construction and rehabilitation. Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development Cde Petronella Kagonye yesterday told The Herald that the $36 million being collected annually from motorists could not meet all requirements. “An increase of about 30 more toll points is expected after consultation processes are done with stakeholders. The ministry is working on a programme to introduce more toll points on our highways, which are not being tolled and most of these roads are primary roads like Chivhu-Nyazura, Rusape-Nyanga, Bindura-Mt Darwin to mention a few. Currently, Zinara is collecting approximately $3million monthly from tollgates, which amounts to approximately $36 million per annum,” said Cde Kagonye. Government has embarked on a massive road infrastructure development programme and has courted foreign investors to work on the projects under a build operate and transfer basis and its work in progress for the Plumtree – Harare – Mutare Highway. Cde Kagonye said the Plumtree-Harare-Mutare Road was expected to be completed by end of year and was 82 percent complete
“The rehabilitation of the Plumtree – Harare – Mutare road by Group Five the contractor, is expected be completed by December 2014. The project is being funded by the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the loan is being paid back by monies from toll fees, fuel levy and road transit fees,” she said. The Cabinet, Cde Kagonye said, had approved the collection of road access fees and tolls at the new Limpopo Bridge to supplement the toll fees collected by Zinara for road rehabilitation and maintenance. “The ministry, following the approval for the collection of road access fees and tolls at new Limpopo Bridge will utilise part of these funds to supplement the toll fees collected by Zinara for road rehabilitation and maintenance,” she said.The country currently has 22 tolling points along major highways. According to the 2012-2016 National Transport Policy, Zimbabwe has a 900 000 km road network of which 14000 km are surfaced, 56 000 km are weathered and the rest are gravel. Cde Kagonye said a kilometer of tarred road costs Government $1 million to construct and this would mean that more money was needed. “We realised that a kilometer of tarred road costs $1 million so there is need for motorists to pay a little more. The establishment of more tolling points will increase the revenue,” she said. Zinara has collected $370 million since the introduction of tollgates in 2009. About $29 million was disbursed to urban councils for road maintenance and $65 million to rural councils.Recently Government increased tollfees that saw light motor vehicles being $2, up from $1, kombis $2 to $3, buses $3 to $4, heavy vehicles from $4 to $5