The Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) says government should explain how revenue collected from toll gates is being utilised since its introduction in order to build confidence in tax payers.

CTPD acting executive director Isaac Mwaipopo said in a statement today that doing so would help members of the public, especially motorists to appreciate and see the linkage between the money they pay at toll gates and how it was being utilized.

“CTPD notes the speech delivered by the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development, Honourable Ronald Chitotela, when he stood before parliament. In his speech, the Minister informed the house that K236.9 million had been raised in toll fees from January to May, 2017. The minister further went on to share government’s intentions to set up 20 more inland toll plazas estimated at K670 million kwacha. While we appreciate figures shared in terms of collections from the plazas that are in full operation, it will be critical for the ministry to also go a step further and update the public how the total revenues collected from the time the toll fees were introduced are being utilized,” Mwaipopo stated.

“This will help the general public appreciate and see the linkage between the money they pay at the toll gates and how it is being utilized which may further enhance compliance from motorists. There are a number of adverts that have been running on various media platforms sensitizing the public on the need to pay toll fees, but less information on how the resources collected from the time the toll gates where introduced have been utilized.”

He urged the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) to explain to the public how many roads had been worked on using the funds from toll gates if there were any.

“CTPD understands that the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) was established to perform many functions beyond collection of fees, and it is for this reason that we urge the Agency to share information with the public on roads that have been maintained and constructed using this fund. We note that sustainable domestic resource mobilization and utilization are key prerequisites in fostering social and economic growth. In the recent past, Zambia has borrowed huge sums of money in a bid to finance social and infrastructure development among which included road infrastructure,” Mwaipopo stated.

“This is because improved road networks is vital to opening links to better markets, minimize wear and tear of motor vehicles, reducing distance, and many other factors relevant to harnessing livelihoods for people. It is against this background that NFRA was established by the act of parliament as a sustainable way towards addressing infrastructure development, key among the functions of the fund is to administer and manage road funds as well as allocate resources for the construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation of roads.