Twenty toll gates set to be erected on some of the major tarmac roads in the country next years are projected to raise about K7 billion in non-tax revenue as government seeks to transform the road network.
Roads Fund Administration (RFA), the legal authority mandated to raise finances for public road maintenance, rehabilitation and repair, disclosed the expected revenue in an interview this week.
“The government’s recent announcement that Malawi will introduce toll gates on some of the major roads in this country is an exciting move towards modernising our road network,” RFA procurement and public relations officer Masauko Mngwaluko said.
“Initially, we plan to erect a minimum of 20 toll gates on our main roads tarred, meaning the toll gates will give us additional revenue to the tune of K7 billion per year, increasing up our road maintenance fund to a record K22 billion for next year. If you look at some of our neighbouring countries, the toll gate system is working very well and Malawi can no longer lag behind in the road network’s modernisation process.”
But he said the project is awaiting Cabinet approval, after which a strategic partner, who must be ready to invest on a public private partnership arrangement, would be identified before the transformative project begins in earnest.
RFA will also need to engage the strategic partner through the Public, Private Partnership Commission (PPPC) to assist in identifying the investor.
Toll gates are massive cement and steel structures straddling highways and other major roads in a country.
Mngwaluko said currently RFA raises about K15 billion annually from a road levy it collects per litre of fuel through the Malawi Energy Regulatory Agency (Mera), and through international transit fees charged on all foreign-registered trucks using Malawi’s road network.
Minister of Transport and Public Works Francis Kasaila announced recently that, from January 1 next year, Malawi will introduce the toll gate fees, to expand the government’s revenue base and modernise the country’s road network.
He said: “There is no money that can be taken away anyhow [abused] from this fund. It is what we call a ring-fenced fund dedicated purely to road maintenance.”
Commenting on the development, Malawi Economic Justice Network (Mejn) executive director Dalitso Kubalasa said the project is a welcome avenue for enhancing the much-needed resources mobilisation in these challenging economic times. n