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Government struggles to hit K9 billion tollgate target

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Roads Fund Administration (RFA) is likely to miss the K9 billion annual revenue target it set to collect from the country’s two tollgates at Chingeni in Balaka and Kalinyeke in Dedza districts, our calculations show.

The two tollgates were commissioned in November 2021 and January 2022, respectively.

As at the end of September this year, RFA had collected a total of K3.2 billion from the two tollgates.

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That is to say, if RFA were to meet the K9 billion annual revenue target, it would have to collect K5.8 billion in the remaining months of the year.

RFA spokesperson Masauko Ngwaluko told The Daily Times Monday that reductions in gate fees and revised tollgate regulations on foreign vehicles have contributed to the subdued collections.

Ngwaluko said, following a public outcry that the fees were exorbitant, the government reduced the fees significantly across the board.

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It also revised tollgate regulations which, among other measures, exempted international vehicles from paying the fees inland.

“When foreign vehicles come into the country, what they pay is international transit fees at the borders. That was a big chunk and, so, that is why we could not get what we thought we could get initially.

“But what I can say is that the traffic is really good and compliance levels are better. This is getting us an assurance of getting towards the target but not what we initially planned,” he said.

Minibuses are paying K2,000 from K3,400 one-way trip while 31-seater buses and vehicles weighing between five and 10 tonnes are paying K4,000 instead of K5,100 and K7,000 respectively. Light and pickup cars fees are pegged at K1,000, down from K1,700

RFA recently announced that it would plant 15 tollgates by 2027 using its own funds.

According to RFA, more tollgates would be planted along Lilongwe-Mchinji, Lilongwe- Salima, Mangochi-Liwonde and Blantyre-Mwanza roads, among others.

Kalinyeke Tollgate and Chingeni Toll Plaza are the country’s first tollgates.

In March this year, the tollgate system was marred with fraud, a development that led to the arrest of 11 officials.

Meanwhile, Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency Executive Director Willy Kambwandira has asked RFA to share with Malawians information on how much they have collected in gate fees.

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