Tollgates rake in $3,5 million

tollgateHARARE - Zimbabwe's new highway tax has raked in US$3,5 million for the government, the finance minister has told Parliament. (Pictured: 22 tollgates introduced in August.)

In August this year, 22 tollgates were set up on all the country’s major highways, charging motorists a fee to boost government coffers and help rehabilitate the collapsing and dangerous road network. Light vehicles are charged US$1 at the tollgates, manned by officials from tax collector Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, ZIMRA, and police officers. Buses pay US$3 and lorries pay $5.

Speaking during a recent question and answer session in Parliament, finance minister Tendai Biti said: “The money collected from tollgates as of last Friday is US$3,5 million. The total is more than the equipment used to set up these tollgates. Zimbabwe’s road infrastructure is dotted with large potholes, carriageway markings have faded, and road signs have been vandalised or stolen, making driving a scary experience. Biti said negotiations for the dualisation of the Beitbridge-Chirundu and BulawayoMutare roads were at an advanced stage, adding that this would avoid delays at tollgates.

Much like the highways themselves, the infrastructure at the tollgates is rudimentary, and cause frustrating delays for motorists. Officials collect the tax and write receipts manually from desks placed in the middle of the road. Prefabricated structures and tents at each toll station provide shelter and portable toilets are pitched by the roadside for use by the tax collectors. Biti warned against corruption.

“I need to say that there should be methods to make sure that the tollgate fees collection are more transparent,” Biti said. “Cabinet should make sure that leakages are minimised.”

Post published in: Economy

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