By STEVEN ZANDE –
THE Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) has welcomed Government’s intention to lift the ban on movement of trucks at night, stating this will enhance economic activity in the country.
Finance Minister Felix Mutati in Kazungula on Saturday said Transport Minister Brian Mushimba is tomorrow expected to sign a revised Statutory Instrument (SI) to lift the ban restricting movement of trucks between 21:00 hours to 05:00 hours but Passenger Service Vehicles (PSVs) remain banned.
CTPD head of programmes and research Brian Mwiinga said the move was progressive because time was crucial to efficient delivery of goods which also affected Government revenue collection.
“This is a smart move, the ban was an inconvenience to truckers,” Mr Mwiinga said.
He said in an interview yesterday that Zambia’s land linked status demanded unrestricted movement of goods vehicles like trucks because this was vital to productivity for economic benefit.
Mr Mwiinga said unrestricted flow of movement of trucks would help Zambia record more vehicles on the road and this would positively impact the economy, but drivers should be cautious to avoid recurrence of widespread road carnage.
The Public Private Driver’s Association (PPDAZ) has asked the Government to consider extending beyond 21:00 hours operating hours for passenger service vehicles.
PPDAZ president Josiah Majuru appealed to Government to consider extending beyond 21:00 hours the night travel ban on passenger service vehicles to help accommodate individuals who travel on tight business schedules.
Mr Majuru said PPDAZ was comfortable with the prescribed 05:00 hours for buses to commence movement but if trucks would be allowed to travel at night, passenger service vehicles buses should also enjoy an extension in operating hours.
He said there was a need to factor in other issues like congestion on the roads, which took away significant amount of time from passengers, thereby negatively affecting their programmes.
The association was committed to supporting Government efforts aimed at formulating rules aimed at preserving human life.
Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) president Rosetta Chabala said reversing the ban was progressive because this would improve the flow of goods.
Ms Chabala said this was also expected to see stronger productivity due to efficient delivery and distribution of materials.