THE Urban Councils’ Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) has pledged to support Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere’s proposal to introduce urban tollgates to fundraise for cities’ roads rehabilitation programmes, but demanded transparency in the administration of the funds.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
UCAZ president and Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni told NewsDay that local authorities were demanding transparency in the management of revenue collected from the tollgates to avoid misuse of the money.
“We don’t mind a cost-effective revenue collection set-up provided the end value is guaranteed, unlike now, where motorists are asking what their licence fees are doing for them,” Manyenyeni said. Early this week, Kasukuwere announced plans to launch urban tollgates as a way to fund the rehabilitation of roads, most of which have become impassable.
He also lamented the low amount being disbursed by the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) to local authorities, saying it was not in tandem with the number of vehicles that were taking parking space in the city each day.
Government in 2010 took over management of vehicle licence fees and gave Zinara the mandate to administer the funds, but the parastatal has been accused of mismanaging the money and starving local authorities of their statutory allocations.
Manyenyeni said Harare City Council was entitled to between $40 million and $70 million per year, but received a paltry $1m per year.
He added that he recently met Zinara board chairperson Albert Mugabe over the issue, but nothing concrete was agreed.
The MDC-T mayor questioned the composition of the Zinara board which he said was operating without a local authorities’ representative as required.
“The nominations were submitted by UCAZ. None of the nominations were accepted. The Zinara board is not compliant with its own law,” Manyenyeni said.
“I have raised this matter with Transport, Roads and Infrastructure Development minister Joram Gumbo and the Zinara board chairman.”