By HELEN ZULU in Mbala –
FINANCE Minister Felix Mutati has revised the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA)’s toll fee collection target for 2018 from the initial K845 million to K1 billion due to high demand for resources in infrastructure development in the road sector.
Meanwhile, Mr Mutati has advised the Agency to quickly migrate from manual toll gates to electronic ones to minimise the pilferage associated with manual toll gates and ensure security.
The minister said this in an interview after conducting a tour of the Kakonde toll station in Mbala at the weekend, in the company of National Development Planning Minister Alexander Chiteme and NRFA chief executive officer Wallace Mumba.
Mr Mutati said NRFA had been instructed to put up 31 toll gates by December this year and revise their target for toll fee collection.
“As a people, we should strive to collect more revenue to do our own projects. The answer to development is not debt but sacrifice to pay the toll fees so that we can be able to deliver infrastructure such as roads to our people. We should be the main drivers of funding for the construction of our roads, Mr Mutati said.
He said the Government was satisfied with the governance structure because the toll fees being collected were put in a ring-fenced account.
Mr Mutati said about 100 per cent of what was collected in toll fees was invested back in the sector.
“Everything that we collect is ploughed back in the road sector and we will continue with that focus this year. NRFA has a target of 31 tolls to do this year, 200 per cent of the money that is collected from the toll gates will be given to NRFA.
“Then the portion of that money should be reinvested so that NRFA can increase its revenue generation capacity and be responsible for the budget of construction,” the minister said.
Mr Mumba said last year, NRFA collected more than K667 million, which was a marginal drop from the previous year’s K682 million.
The Government had announced in this year’s Budget that NRFA’s target for 2018 would be K845 million from last year’s K667 million.