By Patrick Chitumba
Members of Parliament and councillors will not be exempted from paying tollgate fees, a cabinet minister has said.
The Minister Transport and Infrastructural Development, Dr Joram Gumbo, said the MPs and councillors should not waste their time writing to Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) asking to be exempted from paying the fees.
Dr Gumbo said Zinara had been inundated with letters from legislators and councillors seeking exemption from paying the fees and the Government position was that they should pay like the rest of the motorists.
Addressing a road authorities meeting in Gweru on Thursday, Dr Gumbo urged lawmakers as well as rural and urban councillors to stop asking for favours.
“I’m pleading with you MPs and councillors to stop writing letters seeking exemption to pay toll fees. The Government position is that you should pay the fees like what other motorists are doing so your letters will not be entertained,” he said.
Dr Gumbo said some legislators were arguing that they make many trips to Parliament as well as to their constituencies hence the need for them to be exempt from paying toll fees.
“This culture of not wanting to pay for services should be done away with if we are to develop as a country. People must pay so that they get the good services they want,” he said.
The Government introduced toll fees as part of measures to raise funds to construct and rehabilitate roads. Dr Gumbo said the country’s road network has outlived its lifespan and more than $5 billion was needed to rehabilitate it.
He said Zinara was raising less than $200 million per annum which is very little given the amount required to rehabilitate the road network.
“This is why we are urging road authorities to pursue other innovative strategies such as public private partnerships and mobilising funds from financial institutions. We are also appealing to individuals and other institutions with free funds to come on board and participate in revamping the road network,” he said.The Chronicle