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Tollgate delay costs RFA K837million

As Chingeni Toll Plaza opens Monday

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Roads Fund Administration (RFA) has lost about K837.5 million due to delayed opening of Chingeni Toll Plaza in Balaka.

This follows news that the toll plaza will be opened Monday, November 8 2021.

Authorities have indicated that they anticipate to collect K9 billion from Chingeni and Kalinyeke tollgates, which translates into K375 million a month and K12.5 million a day at each facility.

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On August 6 2021, RFA gazetted the tollgate fees that would become effective on September 1, at Chingeni and Kalinyeke tollgates, however, the plan hit a snag following a backlash from the public and other stakeholders that the fees were high.

Treasury instructed RFA to delay opening of the tollgate and engage stakeholders on the matter.

The delay has taken two months and seven days, translating into K837.5 million of revenue forgone.

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In an interview, RFA Chairperson Mathews Chikankheni said consultations with stakeholders were successful and that the fees have not changed.

“The fees that will be applied are the ones that have been published in the papers. If there is going to be a review, we will let you know. We have done consultations and, so far, it has been agreed that the toll fees should be maintained,” Chikankheni said.

In a separate interview, Road Transport Operators Association of Malawi Chief Executive Officer Chrissy Flao confirmed that they gave RFA the green light to implement the fees.

She was quick to say the agreement was made on the basis that RFA would be transparent and publish the amount collected every quarter.

“The meeting we had helped us understand how they are going to progress with the whole exercise. Our main concern was the fees but they explained to us and we got to appreciate that the fees were fair in the region.

“RFA assured us that the money will be used for rehabilitating the very roads, and not be diverting to anywhere else. We urged them to take the same initiative to the other regions to enhance rehabilitation of our roads,” Flao said.

Light vehicles will be paying K1,700 while minibuses will be parting with K3,400 with trucks carrying abnormal loads paying K20,000 for a one-way trip.

Further, 17 to 31-seater buses and two to five-tonne trucks would be paying K5,100 while those five to 10 tonnes would be coughing K7,000 and K8,000 will be applicable to trucks weighing more than 10 tonnes.

Meanwhile, Minibus Owners Association of Malawi (Moam) has announced that they will next week Monday hold a nationwide strike in protest against the toll fees.

Moam National Secretary Coxley Kamange said during a press briefing in Blantyre yesterday the association has on several occasions written government through RFA to reduce the fees to at least K500 or K600.

“We have tried to engage the government but our demands seem to be falling on deaf ears. Now is the time to act and we hereby announce that no minibus will operate from Monday and that during the days, we will be holding vigils at Kaliyeka,” Kamange said.

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