By Wezzie Gausi
The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (Pac) has queried the Roads Fund Administration (RFA) for planting two toll gates in one road stretch of the M1 Road.
Pac took RFA to task Thursday during a meeting at Parliament Building.
RFA appeared before the committee to answer queries arising from the 2019 audit report.
Pac Chairperson Shadric Namalomba said the committee wanted to know the rationale behind having two toll gates in one stretch of the road, arguing that only road users going to the South are subjected to paying the fees.
“You all can agree with me that it is in the Northern region of the country that we have a lot of cars coming in and out. We expected [you] to plant one toll gate in the Northern Region so that cars coming into Malawi should be paying too.
“We have heavy trucks that come from Tanzania with goods. These are the vehicles that destroy the roads the most. But they come and go without paying. This is an error and we feel there was no proper consultations before RFA started the project,” Namalomba said.
But RFA Chief Executive Officer Stewart Malata said proper research on how many vehicles go to each region was made.
He said toll gates are supposed to be planted over a distance of 100 kilometres.
“In the coming financial year, we are planning to have toll gates in different districts and, as we are speaking, we are working on our budget and doing consultations as to where these toll gates should be placed,” Malata said.
Pac will meet RFA again to discuss gate fees.
According to RFA, the toll gates are expected to boost its revenue collection by 15 percent translating to about K5.4 billion annually.
The funds will be used for maintenance and rehabilitation of roads in the country.
Currently, RFA has two toll gates, one at Chingeni in Ntcheu and the other one at Kalinyeke in Dedza.