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Hiked toll fees to raise transport costs – Actionaid

A MOTORIST pays toll fees at Kafulafuta on Ndola-Kapiri Road. Government recently introduced Road Toll Gates on Great North Road. PICTURE: MATHEWS KABAMBA.

ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
ACTIONAID Zambia says proposals by Government to hike toll fees by 100 percent with the recent fuel increase will trigger another rise in public transport costs.
Currently, small vehicles are paying K10, minibuses K15, while for light trucks, the charges are between K25 and K40.Heavy-duty trucks are pegged between K60 and K80, and those carrying abnormal loads are paying K160 and K250.
ActionAid country director Nalucha Ziba said an increase in toll fees will have a spiral effect on road users and the burden will be passed on to taxpayers.
Ms Ziba advised Government to rescind its decision on the proposal and come up with better ways of raising revenue.
“ActionAid Zambia has learnt with discontent the intentions by Government to raise more revenue by hiking toll fees by 100 percent. Already the public transporters have hiked fees and may have no option but to hike fees again as a response to the increase in toll fees.
“This proposal is too much and, therefore, it should be a phased approach over a period of time. Increase in transport costs could push the cost of production up and may also trigger price increases in essential commodities,” she said.
Ms Ziba urged Government to tabulate how the funds from tolling are being used.
“Government has so far raised over K1 billion since 2013 to March 2016, but the public has not been availed with details on how the funds have been disbursed.
“With the alarming resource mismanagement cited in the latest Auditor General’s report and little action taken by Government, it is wrong for a Government to be asking for more tax from people through increased user fees while paying a blind eye to mismanagement of public resources raised through taxing mechanism such as tolling,” she said.
Ms Ziba also called on Government to urgently address the escalating levels of poverty and inequality in the country as opposed to passing the high cost of living to the citizenry who are already suffocated and barely managing to earn a living.

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