Housing and Infrastructure Development Minister Ronald Chitotela says the US$1.2 billion Lusaka-Ndola dual carriageway road project has been designed to last for 20 years after its completion.
However, Chitotela says the private contractor who has mobilised funds to construct the Highway will get tolls fees and other income from the road for 17 years, as repayment, after the project is completed.
Chitotela said this in Parliament when he responded to a question from UPND Monze central member of parliament Jack Mwiimbu who wanted the Minister to clarify the financing arrangement of the road in question.
“I thank you Mr Speaker, I would like to have a bit of time to clarify the misinformation given out to the nation; that the cost of the road projects in the region ranges around US$300,000 that is total misinformation Mr Speaker. I have facts and I will refer to them,” Chitotela said.
“In Zambia Mr Speaker, a chip and spray road, one of them I would cite an example is Monze-Niko road, Kawambwa-Mushota-Luwingu road is costing $370 thousand dollars per km in Zambia and that is a chip and spray. A double seal in Zambia and even in the region is costing between US$750,000 even in Zambia today Mr Speaker,” Chitotela said.
“We are talking about a road Mr Speaker that has been designed with proper maintenance to last for 20 years. So nobody should come here and mislead people that in Zambian, the cost of the road is below what is costing in the region. I would want even those that are coming up with the question to cite one road in once of the regional countries, with these specifications which is costing less than US$1.2 million per kilometer, then I will be able to answer.”
Chitotela argued that the dual carriageway would be 11 metres wide.
“The road am talking about Mr Speaker is not a chip and spray, the road we are talking about is not a double seal, it is an ashford road with specific technical requirements. The width of one road, Mr Speaker, will be 9 meters plus 1.5 meter of the shoulders, the total width will be 11 meters,” he said.
The minister went further to explain how the project would be financed.
“How the project will be financed Mr Speaker, the road project is being financed under EPC+F (Engineering Procured Contract plus Finance). The contractor who is coming has mobilized money and I have been told that Ministry of Finance said PPP, it is PPI which is Public, Private Initiative where the private person comes in with money, he builds the road, you start levying the road and then you start paying, and the re-payment period is 17 years. The change here Mr Speaker is instead of PPP, we give the private person to toll the road and we agree on the sharing mechanism.,” said Chitotela.
“The difference here is government will be able to toll the road, collect the money and pay back the investment the contractor is bringing on this road. That is the difference and a huge benefit to this government. The internal rate of return at 15 percent Mr Speaker as indicated that by the 17th year when we are done with repaying of this road, this government will have raised up to 3.5 billion dollars we subtract 1.2 billion dollars including other administrative costs, this government will remain with a net profit of 1.5 billion dollars. I think Zambians must say ‘job well done’ to President Edgar Lungu’s government.”