Monday, August 2, 2010

Toll fees relief for motorists

Herald Reporter
Motorists living within a 10km radius of tollgates are now required to pay US$10 per month.

However, the motorists would have to meet set Government requirements for them to be eligible for such a relief.

In the past, all those living close to the country’s 22 tollgates were forking out nearly US$60 per month in toll fees.

In an interview yesterday, Zimbabwe National Road Authority chief executive Mr Frank Chitukutuku said they had taken over management of tollgates from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority to improve accountability and efficiency.

"Locals will have to produce a registration book, proof of residence in the form of a bill and a national identification card and can purchase the tickets from Zinara offices or any post office.

"On collection of fees, we have taken over from Zimra, but we are only going to recruit management staff while Zimra officials manning the tollgates will be retained, but under Zinara," he said.

Government has realised more than US$15 million since toll gates started operating in August last year, an official has said.

In cases where there are no bills, Mr Chitukutuku said citizens would have to produce a letter signed by the local authority where they live.

He said the new management staff would be trained in South Africa by Inter Toll, a subsidiary of Group Five Limited.

Mr Chitukutuku said the road authority would now be involved in the printing of tickets to be issued to motorists to control the amount of receipts in circulation for audit purposes.

"We now have to be involved in the whole process unlike in the past when Zimra was in control. By mid-August all tickets will be bearing our logo," he said.

He said construction of proper structures at the tollgates was underway and would be followed by computerisation.

"Work is in progress at the country’s major roads. The manual system is full of loopholes but with computerisation we can remove human factors of bribery, corruption and misappropriation.

"The system will have sensors which will play a pivotal role in audit purposes," Mr Chitukutuku said.

Out of the US$15 million collected to date, US$8 355 608,58 has been disbursed to the Department of Roads while Zimra got 10 percent and the remainder was paid to police for their services.

Mr Chitukutuku dismissed reports that Zanu-PF strongholds in Mashonaland had grabbed the largest amounts of money collected from the tollgates.

"Areas which have received bigger allocations are a representative of the dualisation process which is currently underway.

"Moreover councils bring programmes which we vet to see if they are fundable and allocations for maintenance are given on first come first served basis.

"People must know that toll fees are used to maintain trunk roads—roads that have toll gates only," he said.

Mashonaland West and East were allocated US$2 273 692 and US$1 532 171 respectively.

Manicaland got US$521 953, Mashonaland Central US$801 802, Midlands US$909 318, Matabeleland South US$851 979 Matabeleland South US$741 017 and Masvingo US$681 750.

Government introduced tollgates as a way of mobilising money to rehabilitate and maintain roads.

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