PRETORIA – Friday, 11th July, 2014 – GOVERNMENT raised over US$30 million dollars in the last six months it has been operating toll gates fitted on selected points of some roads in Zambia.
Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Minister, Yamfwa Mukanga said the money was raised through a pilot project involving seven toll gates that have been erected on weigh-bridges. Only trucks passing through the seven weigh-bridges are currently being levied.
Mr. Mukanga said Government has now seen great potential for raising more financing with which to carry out more sustainable maintenance of existing roads as well as those that are being constructed.
“We will now roll-out this to other roads and even put up actual toll-gates instead of using weigh bridges to collect these toll fees. We can then also capture smaller vehicles under this system,” he said.
The Minister was speaking when he made a presentation at the 2014 Africa Ports and Harbours Show at Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on 4th July.
The show is a platform on which countries speak about their investment potential to prospective investors.
Mr. Mukanga told the gathering that Government was targeting to divert transportation of all heavy cargo from the road onto the railway network by 2016. He said it was in this vain that Government repossessed Zambia Railways from the concessionaire, Railway Systems of Zambia, because it wanted to prevent further damage to the road network as well as improve the railway system which had suffered deterioration due to lack of re-investment.
He said the railway network in Zambia had deteriorated to levels where trains could not move at more than 20 kilometers per hour.
“With such low levels of speed, transit time obviously becomes longer and in the process the cost of doing business becomes unbearable.”
The Minister said Zambia was committed to regional growth and economic integration through an efficient, cost effective and fully integrated transport infrastructure that adequately meets the needs of the region.
He said road projects such as the Link Zambia 8000 as well as the railway lines being constructed were part of the vision of linking Zambia to other countries.
He pointed out that five railway projects meant to connect major transport corridors were currently being developed as part of Zambia`s efforts to link the region. He named the projects as the Chingola-Sol- Jimbe railway line, the Nseluka-Mpulungu line, the Chipata-Tazara Mpika, the Kafue Lions’ Den and the Livingstone-Katima Mulilo railway project.
The Minister noted that Government has invested over US$50 million in maritime transportation development but that this fell below the required levels of investment to make the sector efficient. He urged investors to look at this as an opportunity and explore it further.
Mr. Mukanga also noted that potential investors could also take advantage of the current lack of investment in Dry Ports, the lack of bigger passenger and cargo vessels on lakes, and lack of investment in maritime infrastructure and turn them into opportunities.
He said those planning to invest in Zambia should not hesitate as the country was a stable and mature democracy which has managed to change five Heads of State and three different political parties in a peaceful manner.
HIGH COMMISSION OF ZAMBIA IN SOUTH AFRICA
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