Home > General > Zimbabwe Toll Gates facing 100% increase

Zimbabwe Toll Gates facing 100% increase

Transport minister Obert Mpofu was quoted in the Press yesterday as saying the government had increased tollgate fees by 100%. Said Mpofu: “Cabinet has approved an increase in toll fees and an increase in toll plazas, but much detail will be made public through the appropriate channel.

He further said: “We are actually the cheapest in the region, hence we believe our prices are noble and fairly reasonable.”

That may be so, but with the money they have collected so far, there has hardly been any improvements on the road network. If anything, the situation is deteriorating fast. This brings up the questions: Where has the bulk of the money gone because only minimal repairs have been done? There has been no concomitant value for money. Fee rises seems to be in converse relationship with services rendered. The higher fees rise, the more the service disappears, whereas it should be the other way around.

It is the same with spot fines, where the corrupt traffic police’s gain has been Treasury’s (read “nation at large”) loss. Accidents have shot up because any vehicle, no matter the condition, and any driver, no matter whether he is not licenced or drunk, are given free passage for the rest of the day after paying bribes to corrupt police.

So, having more toll plazas is not necessarily beneficial, but could make corruption worse without the necessary framework of controls and checks.

There was talk of computerising all the tollgates, but nothing much has moved on that front. We are inclined to read “reluctance” in this tardiness because manual tolling through receipting — as it the case presently — is making millions for those doing the collection of toll fees.

Why should the people’s hard-earned cash be entrusted with the scandal-hit Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara)? The previous Zinara chief executive officer abruptly resigned last month under a swirling cloud of corruption hanging over Zinara. Respective Parliamentary Portfolio Committees have been doing their diligent best in probing State-owned firms, but they have no chance against a stubborn, powerful system which has made those well connected politically virtually untouchable.

The contempt for the people knows no bounds. Only last week, the Electoral Amendment Bill was passed in the National Assembly without the input of the public. This despite that views were collected countrywide just days before and at great expense to the fiscus.

There is also this growing phenomenon where ministry departments are retaining more and more of revenue collected instead of the monies going straight into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

That is why civil servants cannot be paid on time; that is why hospitals and schools cannot be funded. The money is there, but it is going into wrong pockets. Daylight robbery is going on, but nothing is being done. This is a simple, bare fact, not politicising the issue.

NewsDay Editorial

Categories: General
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