Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu has gazetted the date for the start of new toll-gate fees which were reduced following sustained pressure from players in the transport sector, civil rights activists and motorists.
The implementation of the reduced fees will be effective Wednesday following the amendment of the Roads Fund Administration (RFA) Act regulations which dictate toll-gate operationalisation.
“These Regulations may be cited as the Roads Fund Administration (Tolls) (Amendment) Regulations, 2022 and shall come into operation on 12th January, 2022,” declares the gazette dated January 7 2022
Under the revised fees, minibuses will be paying K2 000 from K3 400 while 31-seater buses and vehicles weighing between five to 10 tonnes will be paying K4 000 from K5 100 and K7 000, respectively.
Light and pickup cars fees have been reduced to K1 000 from K1 700 while vehicles weighing beyond 10 tonnes will be charged K5 000 from K8 000. The fees for the abnormal load have been maintained at K20 000, according to the Gazette.
The toll – gates , constructed on the Blantyre- Lilongwe M1 Road at Chingeni in Balaka and Kalinyeke in Dedza District, are the first in the country with the former already operational while the latter will open soon.
In an interview yesterday, RFA spokesperson Masauko Ngwaluko said the fees reduction will likely affect their projected revenue by 35 percent but added that, going by current economic challenges, the revision is sensible.
“ This will really significantly affect the expected revenue collection. You may appreciate that the reduction is quite significant. The light vehicles, for example, were paying K1 700 but now they will only be paying K1 000 which is around K40 percent reduction.
“We should appreciate the concerns from the public regarding the times we are going through. Due to Covid-19, the world is facing economic challenges so we had to be realistic,” he said.
Minibus Owners Association of Malawi, which has been in the forefront pushing for the fees’ revision, said it was still not impressed with the reduction ranges.
Said the association’s general secretary Coxley Kamange: “Most minibuses that operate on routes where these toll-gates are have small profit margins as they don’t travel long distances due to government’s prime route policy which demands that single-tyre minibuses only cover 150-kilometre destinations.
“Much as we appreciate that, at least, government has listened to our pleas, we will still continue engaging them so that the fees are further reduced to K500 for the minibuses.”
Through the toll-gates, the government projected that it will be generating K4 billion annually which would be chiefly used to improve