via Mooted tollgate fee hike sparks outrage – DailyNews Live 30 June 2014 by Fungi Kwaramba
HARARE – Plans by government to increase tollgate fees is facing stiff resistance from the public.
The move also faces legal challenge amid demands for the ministry of Transport and Communication to reveal the amount of money that has been collected so far on the tolls, and how it has been used.
Government has indicated that it could increase toll gate fees by 100 percent.
Smaller vehicles paying $1 could be forced to fork out $2.
Zimbabwe Lawyers For Human Rights (ZLHR) says it plans to drag the ministry of Transport to court if it does not avail the revenue that has been collected on the roads since the inception of toll gates.
In a letter dated June 24 to the ministry of Transport, the public interest unit of ZLHR wants government to furnish it with information on whether it consulted the public when it decided to increase the toll fees.
“In terms of section 62 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, as read with section 5 and 6 of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Chapter 10:27), we request the following information from you as a public body:
– The total collections from inception of toll gate system to date.
– A breakdown of the collections mentioned above, per tollgate.
– A detailed breakdown of the allocation and use of funds collected from the commencement of the tollgate system to date.
– Names of entities involved in the construction of the tollgates, and the amounts due and payable to them.
– Names of entities contracted for purposes of rehabilitating the road network, and the amounts due and payable to them.”
The demands from ZLHR come at a time when the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) is under pressure to explain use of toll fees.
The lawyers insist that government should provide the “financial statements of the Zinara from the commencement of the tollgate system to date.”
Although government introduced tollgates in 2009 to increase revenue collection and also maintain infrastructure, the country’s roads remain in a sorry state.
Government says it wants to hike the toll fees to improve the state of roads.
ZLHR said failure to provide the required information could result in litigation, as the new Constitution “requires open, transparent and responsive governance and enshrines the right of citizens to access information and participation in governance.”
“We trust you will furnish us with the aforementioned information timeously and in any event within 30 days as mandated by section 6 of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, so as to ensure that this matter will not have to result in unnecessary litigation,” ZLHR’s letter says.