Zinara finance manager Thomas Mutizhe told journalists last week that the amount of money collected per year fell far short of what they needed.
“We are collecting only US$80 million per year, but a figure of US$2 billion is required per year for road maintenance in the country,” Mutizhe said. “With the current revenue streams in place, we cannot meet the required US$2 billion.”
Zinara’s revenue streams emanate from toll fees, fuel levy, vehicle licences, transit fees, abnormal load fees and overload fees. The country’s road network is in critical need of repair.
Mutizhe said tollgate fees are raking in between US$17 million to US$18 million annually while figures between US$1,4 million to US$1,5 million are collected on a monthly basis.
Vehicle licence fees levied on vehicles ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe rake in US$24 million annually while transit fees levied on foreign vehicles travelling on the country’s roads bring in US$1,5 million monthly.
The administration’s tolling manager, Ostern Chimedza, said Zinara would be taking over the collection of revenue from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) to enable it to fulfill its mandate. “We are engaging with the ministry (of Transport, Infrastructure Development and Communications) and Zimra to take over toll collection,” said Chimedza.
“After the takeover, we shall see changes at the (tolling) sites, there will be proper polling facilities, all that you see there is temporary.”
An engineer with Zinara, Gift Kufa bemoaned the lack of funds to buy new and modern equipment.
“We currently have ageing equipment which has high maintenance costs and we have insufficient funds to buy new equipment altogether,” he said.
“Even if we look at the incoming road materials from the country’s borders, there are no tight quality control measures that determine what comes into the country. For instance, our laboratories have ageing and obsolete equipment that cannot test the quality of bitumen that we import.”
The country’s 87 554 kilometres of road network are badly damaged and have received little or no attention in terms of maintenance since the pre-independence era. The roads are littered with pot-holes making them difficult and dangerous to use.