Mpofu under fire over proposal

via Mpofu under fire over proposal | The Financial Gazette 24 Oct 2013

Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister, Obert Mpofu, has come under heavy fire over his proposal to introduce city tollgates.

Last month, Mpofu proposed the introduction of tollgates in towns and cities aimed at financing infrastructural development while reducing carbon emissions and decongesting urban areas.

Currently, light vehicles are charged US$1 at tollgates across the country.

The next class of vehicles, which includes kombis, pays US$2, US$3 for buses and US$4 for lorries.

Haulage trucks fork out US$5.

The tollgate density has been excessive on some of the country’s major roads.

For example, the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) is in the process of constructing three additional tolling points along the Plumtree-Mutare highway, bringing to nine the number of tolling points on the road.

It is, however, the idea of introducing tollgates in urban areas that has triggered intense debate.

Analysts argue that the move would undoubtedly affect not only the motorists, but traders and ordinary citizens through the hiking of transport costs, thus putting another strain on their pockets.

Dumisani Mpofu, a political analyst said: “The increase of tollgates is going to create problems for an already trapped economy and such a move might prove disastrous as it will make people suffer as we do not have any disposable income at the moment to accommodate such change.”

It might also result in long queues on roads leading in and out of cities or towns, thereby worsening congestion.

Critics say ZINARA must first prove to Zimbabweans that the money being collected from tollgates along major highways was being put to good use before attempting another experiment.

In the past, questions have been raised over the use of toll fees from the time the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) partnered with ZINARA in administering the tollgates.

Auditors said US$35 million in taxes meant for ZIMRA was not remitted.

Motorists believe ZINARA has not done much to improve the country’s major roads since the introduction of tollgates in 2009 to warrant the introduction of city tollgates.

Mpofu has, however, assured Zimbabweans that the money being collected at the tollgates would not be diverted to other use but would go towards roads rehabilitation.

“The increase of tollgates is a process; it won’t be done within a day,” he said.

“We are still consulting with city holders and stakeholders so that everyone benefits. Nice roads are built by the people who use them. The money that is being paid by motorists will be used for the roads. ZINARA will play a pivotal role in the repairing of the roads and the motorists have the right to hold the ministry accountable about how the money was used in the building of the roads.”

Eric Bloch, an economic analyst, said Zimbabweans were not ready for such change considering the fact that the majority of them are presently poverty-stricken.

“It’s okay in the long-term as it will help improve our roads,” he said.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions has also condemned the move saying it would translate into an increase in transport fares for urban dwellers.

 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 8
  • comment-avatar

    That is a suggestion from someone who is too ambitious and irrational. Is he aware of the current congestion in cities? What technology did he suggest to collect the tolls. If I is manual then it will take 24 hrs to cross Harare city.

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    Charlie nyikadzino 7 years ago

    As far as the ruling party is concerned the urban masses are there to be exploited, Where else can they get the money to feed their ever increasing life style

  • comment-avatar
    Austin Vuma 7 years ago

    With 80% unemployment rate how may people are paying tax? People are already over stretched leave motorist alone.

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    Nyoni 7 years ago

    The idea that the people must now pay for other peoples mismanagement brings out one question . If there is over 80% unemployment and the government is so corrupt who is paying tax then. Why should I give a bunch of crooks my möney who are living better than the Queen!

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    Chitova weGona 7 years ago

    Mpofu wants to open Marange fields muroad? Can he please tell the nation kuti mari yemadiamonds akaisepi? Ngatirambe that evil proposal bcoz we r hardpressed already. Aripo matollgates are enough.

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    Johnny k 7 years ago

    Why should only the people who travel on the Main roads pay tolls? Those hundreds of thousands of cars that travel within HARARE gobble up most of the Toll revenue within the city to repair the roads. Put up a lot of tolls in Harare, they must also pay.

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    Johnny k 7 years ago

    Mpofu raped the Ministry of Mines and in the process became a billionaire whilst he was in charge.
    You will no doubt see companies that are affiliated to Mpofu win all the road construction contracts in the next 5 years just like Goche did before him. All the ZANU minsters should be obliged to declare their assets.

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    Khumalo Ndabitshekile 7 years ago

    Hame fela khatshana Obed, trying to punish urbanites for not voting ZANU PF. sorry asijiki!!!!!!!!!