CATHERINE MUMBA, Lusaka
THE National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) has collected over K350 million in tolls from January to date.
NRFA public relations manager Alphonsius Hamachila said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday the funds collected have been used on road maintenance spanning over thousands of kilometre, under 400 existing routine maintenance contracts.
“We have also come up with a road tolling maintenance programme (RoToMap) which will support local authorities in carrying out maintenance works on tolled roads and adjacent township roads connecting tolled roads,” he said.
Mr Hamachila said NRFA’s road tolling expansion programme is ambitious as it plans to have 40 toll stations by the end of 2018.
“Very soon, the Minister responsible for Housing and Infrastructure Development will soon announce commencement of road tolling in Northern and Luapula provinces,” he said.
Mr Hamachila said other upcoming toll stations are in Eastern, Western, North-western, Southern, Copperbelt and Muchinga provinces.
He said as a lead tolls agent, NRFA is currently collecting tolls from all vehicle classifications at five inland toll stations of Shimabala, Katuba, Mumbwa, Manyumbi and Kafulafuta.
Mr Hamachila said the collections are augmented with collection points from weigh-bridges and ports of entry.
He said the road tolling programme was introduced to mitigate road maintenance needs and enable the road sector to generate revenue from non-traditional sources of funds.
Mr Hamachila said maintenance is key to preserving the road asset whose value is currently estimated at US$ 8.3 billion.
“According to the maintenance needs report 2012 on the core road network of 40,454 kilometres, a minimum of US$721 million is needed annually for maintenance,” he said.
Mr Hamachila, however, said the available resources from road user charges of K1.8 billion in 2016, and about K2.1 billion in 2017, are not enough to meet the minimum maintenance requirements.