The Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) yesterday increased toll fees by nearly 40% and started charging in foreign currency with effect from yesterday, a move likely to trigger a wave of price hikes.
The review is meant for the roads administrator to raise funds for road maintenance with the country’s road network in a “sorry state” especially highways, towns, and cities are littered with potholes.
According to the latest government gazette, light motor vehicles will now pay 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. Light vehicles will now pay $165, up from $120 while minibus $245 and buses $330. Heavy trucks and haulage trucks now pay $410 and $820 respectively, according to the gazette.
“Toll fees for foreign-registered vehicles shall be payable in United States Dollars or equivalent in other foreign currencies, using the above rates,” part of the gazette read.
“The fees stipulated may be payable in local currency at the foreign currency auction rate in terms of Exchange Control (Exclusive use of Zimbabwe dollars for domestic Transactions) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020, published in statutory instrument 185 of 2020.”
Zinara was given the green-light to collect toll fees in foreign currency by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube last year when he announced the 2021 National Budget, but the figures were yet to be gazetted.
Government last reviewed the toll fees last June.
Zinara public relations and marketing manager, Tendai Mugabe yesterday welcomed the toll fees review saying the government has put road infrastructure at the heart of national development hence dual pricing.
“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,” Mugabe said.
“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.”
He added: “This move we also believe is going to ease congestion at the tollgates as most motorists were complaining over the non-usage of foreign currency at the tolling sites.”
A Road Conditions and Inventory Report done three years ago revealed that 90% of the country’s close to 100 000km of the road network are in a bad state with an estimated $5,5 billion required for maintenance and rehabilitation.
The report noted the existence of 310 000 features on 97 000km of the road network, which include road signs, bridges, and street lights.
The survey was done by the Zimbabwe Local Government Association (ZILGA) and Zinara at an estimated cost of $1,7 million.