State earns US$30m from toll gates

Government has in the last six months raised over US$30 million from toll gates erected on seven weigh bridges in Zambia, says Transport Minister Yamfya Mukanga

Mr Mukanga said only trucks passing through the seven weigh-bridges were currently being levied.

He said government had realised the great potential of toll gates in raising money to use in carrying out more sustainable maintenance of existing roads as well as those being constructed.

“We will now roll out this project to other roads and even put up actual toll gates instead of using weigh bridges to collect toll fees.

We can then also capture smaller vehicles under this system,” Mr Mukanga said

The minister said this in a press statement availed to the Daily Nation by Press secretary at the Zambian High Commission in South Africa, Nicky Shabolyo.

Mr Mukanga was speaking when he made a presentation at the 2014 Africa Ports and Harbours Show at Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

The show is a platform on which countries speak about their investment potential to prospective investors.

Mr Mukanga told the gathering that government was targeting to divert transportation of all heavy cargo from road to the railway network by 2016.

He said it was in that vein that government repossessed Zambia Railway from Railway Systems of Zambia, because it wanted to prevent further damage to the road network as well as improve the railway system which had suffered deterioration due to lack of re-investment.

Mr Mukanga  said the railway network in Zambia had deteriorated to levels where trains could not move at more than 20 kilometers per hour.

“With such low levels of speed, transit time obviously becomes longer and in the process the cost of doing business becomes unbearable,’

The minister said Zambia was committed to regional growth and economic integration through an efficient, cost effective and fully integrated transport infrastructure that adequately met the needs of the region.

He said road projects such as Link Zambia 8000 as well as the railway lines being constructed were part of the vision of linking Zambia to other countries.

Mr Mukanga pointed out that five railway projects meant to connect major transport corridors were being developed as part of Zambia’s efforts to link the region.

He named the projects as the Chingola-Solwezi- Jimbe railway line, the Nseluka-Mpulungu line, the Chipata-Tazara-Mpika, the Kafue Lions’ Den and the Livingstone-Katima Mulilo railway project.

The minister noted that government had invested over US$50 million in maritime transportation development but that this fell below the required levels of investment to make the sector efficient.

He urged investors to look at this as an opportunity and explore it further.

Mr Mukanga also noted that potential investors could also take advantage of the current lack of investment in Dry Ports, the lack of bigger passenger and cargo vessels on lakes, and lack of investment in maritime infrastructure to turn them into opportunities.

He said those planning to invest in Zambia should not hesitate to do so as the country was a stable mature democracy which had managed to change through elections five Heads of State and three different political parties in a peaceful manner.