MDC Alliance national secretary for transport and logistics, Settlement Chikwinya has blasted the recent hike in tollgate fees saying it will strain the already finacially-struggling motorists and intercity commuters.
BY VANESSA GONYE
Government last week hiked toll fees by 166%, which saw the charges going up from $45 to $120 for small passenger vehicles, and from $70 to $240 for buses.
Chikwinya said the hike came as a blow for people who live within the vicinity of tollgates and have to pass through them daily in order to get to work.
“The exponential toll fee increase is anti-poor and is not commensurate with the wages that workers are receiving,” he said.
“Civil servants’ salaries have only gone up by a meagre 41%. It goes without saying that all goods and services have a transport cost embedded in their cost structure.”
Added Chikwinya: “The hardship occasioned by the toll fee increases is compounded by the fact that all government departments, including the military, the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the prison service, the Central Intelligence Organisation, the Judiciary, Parliament, traditional chiefs and Zanu PF vehicles, are exempted from paying toll fees. This means institutions and people who develop and enforce policies that have a direct impact on the cost of living for the general populace exempt themselves from the harsh effects of such policies.”
Chikwinya said an increase in transport costs would further have a negative effect on the prices of goods and services in the country.
He said the rise in toll fees could not be justified as motorists were subjected to another 350% increment in July 2020.
The Mbizo MP scoffed at Finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s claims that government had stabilised the exchange rate, and that inflation would decrease to 134% by the end of the year, saying there was nothing to support those claims.
“The MDC Alliance, therefore, calls on the Minister of Finance to use the 2021 budget presentation to review the toll fee increase and align road user fees to the prevailing cost of living anchored on the affordability of such basic services by the lowest paid civil servant,” he said.
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