Transport and Communications Minister Brian Mushimba says the concession agreement between the RTSA and Intelligent Mobility Solutions (IMS) once implemented, will bring an end to the era of traffic police officers on the roads.

In a ministerial statement to Parliament yesterday, Mushimba said the project would also bring about the use of electronic number plates.

“This partnership will bring about the following changes in traffic management by integrating the use of electronic number plates, sensors on our roads to detect the presence of traffic waiting at the green light, and thus reduce the time when the green signal is given to an empty road. Trucks will no longer be required to go through weigh bridges because it will be done using electronic weigh-in sensors. And there will be traffic cameras mounted above our roads to monitor and manage traffic, thereby doing away with traffic police officers,” Mushimba said.

Mushimba emphasized that the project was at no cost to the government as the concessionaire would invest everything and later recover his investment after 17 years.

“The project is at no cost to the Government of the Republic of Zambia while the concessionaire will provide among other solutions and services, CCTV cameras on our roads, road signs, vehicle inspection centers, cross-border tolling facilities, electronic number plates, high speed weigh in motion nodes to reduce overloading, and road safety enforcement equipment. These services and infrastructure required were calculated to cost the concessionaire slightly over $100 million that will be recovered during the 17-year concession period from value added services,” he said.

He said the concessionaire would also enforce road safety and collect fines from traffic offences while RTSA would retain its core mandate of regulation and collection of tax.

“RTSA retains its core mandate of regulation, education and collection of road tax, driver licensing fees and carbon tax. The concessionaire, through RTSA, will enforce road safety and collect fines from traffic offences such as overloading, over speeding and road user charges for vehicle inspection and registration. The Concessionaire will recover his costs over the course of the seventeen-year project duration through receipts of a portion pegged at 15% on the value-added services. Eighty-five (85%) percent of these collections will be remitted to the Zambian Government Treasury,” Mushimba added.

Mushimba said that the partnership would also help improve the performance of RTSA on its core mandate.

“Further, the partnership will help improve the performance of RTSA on its core mandate and build capacity in RTSA to use modern methods of law enforcement using electronic systems. This will result in better fine collections as all violations will be recorded and documented. An electronic fine will be processed and synchronized with RTSA and police departments, which will manage and better control all raised fines and its collection processes. In addition, RTSA has over the years faced numerous challenges in providing various services to the public because of lack of adequate resources to render services to the public as expected. On many occasions, motorists have spent long hours on queues in pursuit of services from RSTA, hence the need for a smart, integrated intelligent traffic management system,’ said Mushimba.

“The partnership is also intended to reduce the rising incidences of road crashes and fatalities and improve the road safety record of our country. Zambia, as we know, has in the recent past experienced some of the worst accidents that have resulted in the loss of lives of our brothers and sisters on our public roads. You may wish to note that in 2016, over 2,200 people died because of road traffic accidents on our public roads. Though these numbers have reduced by 20% this year compared to last year, the problem is far from being solved yet. These lives lost on the roads were more important to all of us and as Government we cannot sit back and watch so much lives being lost.”