Malawi government has finally approved roads toll gates and it is estimated that K10 billion will be collected per year from the initiative once it rolls out end this year, The Daily Times has learnt.
Initially, Cabinet was to have the paper approved by December, 2015, but failed to do so due to among other reasons the festive season holiday.
Minister of Transport and Public Works, Francis Kasaila, confirmed the development, saying Cabinet has also agreed on toll fee rates that range between K1000 and K5000 depending on the category of the vehicle and that 25 toll plazas will be installed across the country.
“Government has approved the policy that we should start collecting user fees on some of the roads across the country. We have over 30 roads but out of these roads we are going to have 25 toll gates where the user fees will be collected from. The fees are ranging between
K 1000 and K 5000 depending on the category of the vehicle. For example a saloon will pay K 1000 while a 40 tonner truck will pay K 5,000.
“Our estimates are indicating that we should be able to collect about K10 billion a year from this initiative. Some of the resources will go towards paying back the investor, and the rest will go to government which will be reinvested in the road sector as the case is with the fuel levy. At the moment, we have asked the Public Private Partnership Commission, who have taken over from the ministry and on behalf of the Roads Fund Administration, to do a quick study and thereafter call for proposals from the private sector,” Kasaila disclosed.
The transport minister further said there are a number of implementation arrangements that they are considering and among them where the road is in bad shape, the identified private investor will improve it before installing the toll gate. But he said where the road is already in good condition, they will go straight away into the collection of the user fees.
“In some roads where we see there is need for two or three plazas at that toll gate then the section will be widened to allow for that to happen to avoid creating congestion of traffic. The process will take a little bit some time and the actual collection may start towards the end of the year.
“We are targeting only pelvic roads and these are our main roads where we have reasonable traffic because the investment that is coming for the plazas would require paying back and therefore we can only target roads that have reasonable traffic volume, so that the collection should justify the investment,” Kasaila said.
However, he ruled out government spending upfront resources in implementing the initiative saying the strategy is to use the resources from the private sector and that the costs will be deducting from the collections at an agreed rate.
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