Editor's Comment

Toll gates a boon for all

Toll booth.

THE successes that are being recorded in the road sector in the wake of the road tolling system cannot go unnoticed.
Periodically, the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) issues figures of how much has been raised from the many toll gates on some of our highways.
It can be seen that with the increasing number of toll gates, which now stands at 17, the figure has been on the rise.
Last Friday, NRFA announced that it has collected K554 million in the first and second quarters of this year.
According to NRFA chief executive officer Wallace Mumba, the agency has also collected K48 million through the electronic system.
Of note are the innovations NFRA is making to make the payment of road tolls user-friendly, such as the introduction of the electronic system of payment for companies and improving the system to reduce corruption and bribery.
With these measures and many more, revenue from the toll gates will be a better alternative for resource mobilisation that will beef up the national treasury.
With the funds in place, there are positive signs that some of the pending road projects will be completed.
One of the reasons Government set up the toll gate system was to mobilise funds in an effort to generate resources to bridge the road maintenance financial gap.
And so far, the potential to mobilise funds from our own internal sources is clearly abundant, as can be seen from the tolls.
This potential should then be a motivation to Government to keep working towards its intended number of toll gates on all the major highways to mobilise more resources.
Development in the absence of a good road network is bound to remain only on paper.
Government, in its efforts to improve accessibility and the movement of goods from one point to another, is always looking for ways to expand the road network and make it better for citizens.
On the other hand, citizens also want to have a good road network to easily access services and markets so that they can trade.
With this in mind, it is important for Government and its citizens to have a point of meeting where either party, while enjoying the benefits that accrue from a good road network, plays a vital role in ensuring sustainability of the nationwide road project.
Government, therefore, while carrying out road projects around the country, should continue to work with communities that will benefit from the road projects as a way of inculcating a sense of ownership.
We believe that once a sense of ownership is entrenched among citizens, paying tolls will be a joy for citizens.
A few years back, a number of our highways were in a deplorable state and now that they have been improved, they should not be allowed to relapse to their former state.
Regular maintenance of the highways is cardinal so that they remain in tip-top condition and prevent the spending of huge amounts of funds.
As public funds, the tolls call for strict accountability and the appointment of focal point persons at every station under the integrity committee to deal with cases of corruption and bribery is a commendable move.
Corruption and bribery are vices that rob the nation of resources and they should be dealt with as soon as they are spotted.
All these efforts call for a strong bond between Government and citizens for the tolling system to succeed.

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