Zinara eyes $100m from tollgates
Tinashe Makichi Business Reporter—
Zimbabwe National Road Administration targets to collect more than $100 million in toll fees by the end of the year boosted by the new toll fees which came into effect in September this year. Toll fees were hiked by 100 percent in some instances with private motorists now paying $2 up from $1 while haulage trucks are now paying $10 up from $5. Commuter omnibuses are now paying $3 up from $2, while buses are now paying $4 from $3.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Permanent Secretary Mr Munesu Munodawafa said ZINARA expects to collect about $102 million for this year and this has also been boosted by the introduction of technology at out toll plazas.
“Introduction of technology has seen ZINARA double its collection and the revenue collected will go towards upgrade rehabilitation of our roads,” said Mr Munodawafa.
“Comparing $102 million to the $5 billion required for road construction you can see that there is need for Public Private Partnerships which is an aspect that needs to be addressed.”
He said Government will continue looking at initiatives to raise funding for several road projects in the country and given that its costs about $200 000 to $500 000 per kilometre to rehabilitate the country’s highways.
Mr Munodawafa said the country requires between $800 000 to $1,2 million per kilometre to build a construct a new road.
“If you can compare that figure with $36 million which was collected from tolling in 2009 and at best we could have done 36 kilometres which is not convincing,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s total road network is almost 88 000km, of which 15 000km is tarred. He said Government secured a loan facility of $206 million from DBSA for the Plumtree to Mutare Highway and the project is 90 percent complete and work should be done by December this year.
“There has been quite some activity along Samora Machel Avenue because it forms part of Plumtree to Mutare Highway and I am quite sure many people have been surprised by the activity that has been taking place on that road,” said Mr Munodawafa.
He, however, defended Government’s decision to start the construction of Plumtree highway without first considering the Beitbridge to Chirundu highway.
“After securing the loan facility from DBSA we thought the money cannot complete the Beitbridge-Chirundu highway and we thought we were going to have a problem in securing any other funding for other roads because most of the roads we have are not viable on their own except the Beitbridge-Chirundu road which has the capacity to fund itself.
“All the other roads in Zimbabwe, no matter how you toll, they cannot fund themselves and then we decided to apply the loan for the Plumtree project and we still hope to secure funding for the Chirundu-Beitbridge highway,” said Mr Munodawafa.
He said the most critical challenge was that even if money had been secured for the Chirundu-Beitbridge road they could not proceed with the project because of an outstanding legal case on that road.
He said Government is waiting for a date from the High Court for trial and it did not make sense to sit on $206 million since 2009.
Government has so far completed feasibility studies for Beitbridge to Chirundu and Beitbridge to Victoria Falls highways.
“We hope Zimbabwe is going to be the hub of the SADC road network and that plan is being put in place and once the feasibility studies are complete it further strengthens our ability to secure funding for those road projects ,” said Mr Munodawafa.