Govt orders Zinara to regularise tolling deal

DR GUMBOTendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
Government has directed the Zimbabwe National Road Administration to regularise its computerised tolling agreement with Univern in line with the State Procurement Board procedures.

Further, Government directed the road fund administrator to float a tender for a new partner in the administration of new 10 tollgates set to be operationalised by March this year.

Zinara partnered Univern, a private company, to computerise its tolling system, a move which helped plug off revenue leakages, resulting in improved tolling collections.

Addressing Zinara management and staff after a tour of the parastatal’s offices in Harare and the Goromonzi toll plaza on Thursday, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Jorum Gumbo said Government was concerned with the intricate relationship between Zinara and Univern.

“Government is gravely concerned at the intricate contractual relationship that now exists between Zinara and Univern,” said Dr Gumbo.

“I am advised that my predecessor in office expressed the same sentiments to Zinara during his term of office, and it was hoped that by now the board and management would have heeded the call and revised the agreement as directed by my predecessor.”

Minister Gumbo said although the two parties were doing a commendable job in collecting toll fees, their agreement was not sanctioned by Government.

“We welcome that and they are doing a fantastic job, but it has to be formalised through a tender,” he said. “Coming to the 10 new tollgates, the Ministry is going ahead with the tendering for the construction of the tollgates and management and operation of the same shall then reside in the department of roads or any other entity the minister shall designate in terms of the Toll Roads Act.

“I also wish to make the point that the expectation of the Ministry is to see the bulk of the funds you collect channelled towards the rehabilitation and maintenance of the national road network.”

In an interview, Zinara board chairperson Mr Albert Mugabe said they had already approached the SPB seeking condonation on the Univern deal.

He said engagements were still under way with the tender board to resolve the matter.

“We have engaged SPB whom we will furnish with some information for clarity,” he said. “The current board inherited existing contracts which were premised on a public private partnership arrangement.

“The previous board approved to engage Univern, but the administration’s accounting officer may have overlooked some procurement procedures.”

After visiting Zinara, Dr Gumbo also toured the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe where he implored the organisation to introduce traffic training centres countrywide.

“I believe these should be replicated in all the other centres so that children from all provinces and even in high density suburbs benefit,” he said.

“In this regard, I hope you will work with other stakeholders, namely local authorities, in acquiring land for the construction of these centres.”

Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe managing director Mr Obio Chinyere said: “We have 550 driving schools in the country and we tirelessly monitor them in terms of the Statutory Instrument 309 of 1985.

“Last year alone we dragged more than 20 unregistered instructors to court.”

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