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Zinara to plug leakages

JULIA NDLELA
THE Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) is set to revamp its tolling infrastructure as it seeks to plug revenue leakages that have been confronting the parastatal’s operations.

Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara)

This latest approach will culminate in the redevelopment of seven tollgates beginning in April this year.

Most tollgates across the country have been subject to lax systems that have seen some vehicles passing without paying.

The targeted tollgates for upgrade and development include Norton, Skyline, Esigodini, Eskbank, Shamva, Dema and Shurugwi which will be upgraded in a phased manner while the rest will be revamped in 2023.

The tolling issue at the road administrator has been under serious spotlight with the current Intertoll Africa deal being subject to scrutiny. This has seen analysts and parliamentarians highlighting that the arrangement was no longer serving its purpose but rather milking the government of millions of dollars.

Zinara chief executive Nkosinathi Ncube told the Zimbabwe Independent that they were investing in tollgate rehabilitation to counter traffic, improve efficiency and avoid revenue leakages.

“We are going to upgrade seven toll gates this year and Skyline is one of them while Norton, Esgodini, Eskbank, Shamva, Dema among others will be targeted. This will be done in phases,” he said.

“We hope that in the next three years all our toll gates will be up and running with fully-fledged infrastructure.”

Ncube most tollgates are congested and the current infrastructure requires upgrading that will culminate in increasing of lanes and improvement of ICT which entails introduction of pre-payment models to reduce the time taken at the toll gate.

“We have already started with Norton to expand the busy gates,” he said, adding that there is adequate budget put aside for rehabilitation of toll gates without disclosing the figures.

Zinara this week held a press conference where a ZW$17 billion (US$137 million) budget on road rehabilitation was announced. Ncube admitted that the state of the roads was poor hence the need for rehabilitation. “The amount that we collect as Zinara and what is required for the roads don’t tally. We collect maybe 10% of what could actually be enough in the country for the roads to be fully fixed.”

Ncube noted that Zinara is dependent on collections and that has proven inadequate hence a proposal for the government to open room for third party funding from private players.

“We are currently working with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Transport and other government agencies to see what other sources of funding can be looked at so as to accelerate road rehabilitation,” Ncube said.

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