The Ministry of Transport says toll gates planned for introduction in the country will not translate into “double taxation” for road users who are already contributing towards road maintenance through a road levy on petroleum fuel.
Transport Minister Francis Kasaila says the toll gates will be supplementary to the fuel levy since the money currently being collected through the levy is not adequate for road maintenance.
Kasaila said in an interview on Monday that government currently needs K56 billion a year for the maintenance of roads and that the fuel levy does not meet even half of the amount.
He said the plan is to increase resources for the maintenance of roads through the introduction of toll gates in addition to the fuel levy.
“An alternative would have been to increase the road levy [on fuel] significantly but that would have a bearing on the overall pump price which may end up affecting the whole economy as it may trigger inflation,” said Kasaila.
He said government is working towards rolling out the toll gates before the end of the first half of this year.
Minibus Association of Malawi secretary Coxley Kamange said his association supports the rollout of toll gates as long as the funds are used for the intended purpose.
He said the move may be beneficial to minibus operators if the roads are maintained regulary.
“Minibus operators spend a lot of money buying tyres and other spare parts because of the poor road conditions. We believe the toll gates will give government enough money to maintain the roads,” said Kamange.