Road Fund Administration (RFA), a statutory body for raising and administering road maintenance funds, says Malawi is currently collecting far below its annual needs for road maintenance.
RFA board chairperson Bernadette Mandoloma has since said there is need for the body to embrace information and communication technology (ICT) to increase revenue collection.
She said on Monday in Mangochi that Malawi’s annual road maintenance requirement is at $50 million (K37 billion), but only $26 million (K18 billion) is currently being collected annually, creating a 49 percent funding gap.
She was speaking at the opening of the 2016 Southern Africa Focal Group Meeting of the African Road Maintenance Funds Association (Armfa).
Said Mandoloma: “We recently successfully negotiated with the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and
Development to change the fuel levy structure from an absolute figure per litre to a percentage of the pump price and also to increase the fuel levy rates.”
She said RFA is also in the process of recruiting a consultant to perform a feasibility study on the introduction of toll fees on the country’s roads.
Mandoloma said based on the findings of the tour they undertook to Zimbabwe recently, Malawi stands to benefit with the introduction of toll system.
The meeting, under the theme Using ICT Systems to Optimally Use Available Scarce Resources for Road Maintenance, has attracted participants from eight Armfa Southern Africa members of Namibia, Lesotho, Comoros, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia and the host Malawi.
In his remarks, Zimbabwe Roads Administration chief executive officer Engineer Moses Juma said using ICT could enhance revenue collection be it tolling, vehicle transit fees collection and fuel.
“Let us now embrace ICT and use it as we do road works. When we do road condition survey, the processes should be ICT enabled to ensure a full data base with key parameters created.
“When we collect revenue, our processes should be enabled by ICT to curb losses and provide convenience to road users,” he said.
Immediate past president of (Armfa) Anthony Mwanaumo agreed with Juma that ICT if well utilised can minimise challenges in revenue collection.
“ICT is making life easy because it is easy to produce,” he said.
RFA was formed by Act of Parliament in 2006 and was borne after National Road Authority (NRA) was split into RFA and Roads Authority.