Tollgate fees a drop in the ocean, says Zinara
Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
money being collected from tollgates is inadequate to rehabilitate the country’s roads, the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) said yesterday. Zinara officials said this when they appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development.
“As Zinara, we do not have adequate resources for the job at hand. Our roads infrastructure has deteriorated so extensively that what we are collecting is a drop in the ocean to what is required to bring our roads to world-class standard,” Zinara board chairman Mr Albert Mugabe said.
Toll fees were increased by 100 percent in July for light motor vehicles and varying percentages for other classes of vehicles, with Government planning to increase the number of tollgates by at least 30.
Mr Mugabe said for the year ending August 31, Zinara had collected US$15 million in toll fees.
He told the committee that a legal wrangle between Government and a local company, Zim Highways, that was once awarded the tender for Beitbridge-Harare road works was stalling rehabilitation.
“I have reason to believe that Masvingo Road presently has a court case that is pending. You may have noticed that among the tenders put up by the Ministry of Transport (and Infrastructure Development) Masvingo Road was conspicuous by its absence.
“I believe the reason being that there is this case pending and to include it among projects to be done could have been problematic in the event Government was to lose that court case after having awarded it to someone would have certainly created challenges,” he said.
Chegutu West representative Cde Dexter Nduna, however, asked him why they were not using funds collected from tollgates on the road to rehabilitate it.
“The revenue collected from tollgates in particular is principally directed at and disbursed to the Department of Roads. It is their responsibility to see how best to allocate those monies to the various highways in terms of maintenance and rehabilitation. So inasmuch as we are collecting we are handing it over to the Department of Roads who then in turn use that money to fix those highways.
“So the question why in particular perhaps Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge will be better answered by the Department of Roads,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zinara acting chief executive officer Engineer Moses Juma said they would soon embark on maintenance of the Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge Highway ahead of the rainy season.
“Our board about two weeks ago made a strategic decision to allow my team in collaboration with the Department of Roads to move in on the ground in terms of routine maintenance.
“As already alluded to by us, we are all concerned the road is littered with potholes, edge breaks, shoulders unmaintained carriage markings, so those routine requirements are the ones I am saying with immediate effect we are going to fund,” Eng Juma said.