By Farayi Machamire
Government is concerned that it is losing thousands of dollars in potential revenue due to the refusal by Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) to license fully-integrated South African road management firm Intertoll to use prepaid cards at their nine toll gates.
Intertoll country operations manager Joseph Mafanuke said the nine plazas have been ready to roll out the cashless cards since September 21, but are yet to do so because Zinara is yet to give them the green light.
“We are not sure why there has not been the desire to get things down, as we said the system has been ready since September 21,” Mafanuke said while giving oral evidence before the parliamentary portfolio committee on Transport yesterday.
“Our intention was to run a pilot project at Goromonzi and Norton (toll gates) and then we can roll out to the other plazas. We have been ready to roll out since September 21 but we are on hold because we are waiting for feedback from Zinara.”
Curiously, Zinara in September licensed Univern Enterprises, a Zimbabwean-registered firm, which sometimes trades as Southern Region Trading Company (SRTC), to use the prepaid cards.
The prepaid cards are currently operating at 17 tollgates being run by Univern Enterprises.
Zimbabwe has a total of 26 tollgates.
The licensed Univern chief operations officer Warren Cohen said their pre-paid electronic payment system was working very well and allows Zinara to receive payments upfront, money the State road agency can use even before the transaction happens.
The Univern pre-paid cards have so far been snapped up by an estimated 6 000 customers, with the collected pre-paid amount to Zinara standing at $248 000 as at December 17.
The committee questioned why Zinara had not integrated the two systems.
“As long as we have a manual cash system, the government is losing a lot of revenue,” said the committee chairman and Chegutu West Zanu PF legislator Dexter Nduna.
“Mind you, (Univern) fired seven cashiers in Rusape because of this cash handling but if we are to have a prepaid system, no one will rob the nation and there will be avoidance of any leakages.”
Zinara had also been invited to give oral evidence by the parliamentary panel but did not pitch up. It sent a letter of apology for absconding. Daily News