The Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) will from today start collecting toll fees in foreign currency as the road administrator ups efforts to mobilise funds for road maintenance.
This is, however, likely to drive the cost of doing business, especially transport up as the new development coincides with toll fees review upwards.
According to the latest Government Gazette, light motor vehicles are now paying US$2, minibuses now pay US$3 and buses are paying US$4.
Heavy trucks and haulage trucks now pay US$5 and US$10 respectively.
For one to pay toll fees for a light motor vehicle using the Zimbabwean dollar,
the new tariff is now pegged at $165 for smaller vehicles, minibus $245 and buses $330.
Heavy trucks and haulage trucks now pay $410 and $820 respectively.
Zinara was given the greenlight to collect toll fees in foreign currency by Treasury when Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, announced the 2021 National Budget last year but was waiting for the enabling Statutory Instrument to be in place.
The foreign currency component, which is adding to the existing Zimbabwean dollar collections, is also expected to ease congestion at the tollgates as most motorists were complaining over the non-usage of foreign currency at toll sites.
Zinara public relations and marketing manager Tendai Mugabe welcomed this development saying it would significantly contribute towards the disbursements they make to road authorities periodically.
“This is a welcome initiative. Government has put road infrastructure at the heart of national development hence this decision that we should have dual pricing at tollgates,” said Mugabe.
“As a result of the heavy rains received this year, most of our roads are now in a bad state and this requires more funding. Although the money that we collect is not enough to undertake all the road works that our infrastructure now requires, we believe this move will have a significant impact in so far as road development is concerned.”
Mugabe took the opportunity to explain Zinara’s mandate to the public which he said was not well understood.
He said their mandate as a road fund administrator was limited to fixing, collecting and disbursing road user fees to road authorities.
“In line with rebranding of Zinara that we have embarked on, it is important to underline we now focuses on our core mandate as enshrined in the Roads Act which is to fix, collect and disburse road user fees to road authorities,” said Mugabe.
“The refurbishment of roads is the responsibility of road authorities namely, the department of roads in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, the District Development Fund, rural and urban councils.
“After collecting road user fees, we disburse the funds to these four road authorities to undertake road works.”
Mugabe said it was important to note that funds being collected by Zinara were not enough and called upon road authorities to be innovative and come up with alternative ways of supplementing disbursements from Zinara.
A well-maintained national road infrastructure facilitates trade leading to economic improvement of most Zimbabweans including those living in rural areas.
Through Zinara, the Government has been able to rehabilitate thousands of kilometres of road networks both in rural and urban areas countrywide.