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Zinara mulls e-tollgates

by Staff reporter
06 May 2022 at 06:54hrs | Views
THE Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) says it is making headway on plans to establish an e-tolling system to reduce operating costs from toll fees collection processes.

According to Zinara toll fees collection processes gobble about 18-30 percent of the total revenue, a somewhat high figure, hence efforts to introduce the e-tolling facility.

In historical terms, toll fees collections totalled $1, 2 billion in 2020, 556 percent higher than the $183 million realised in 2019, meaning the collection process chewed a huge chunk of inflows.

Zinara is, however, still dependent on agents like Intertoll and Univern for the toll fees collections.

E-tolling is a cashless system that allows road users to make payments for road use with card facilities or e-tags at toll gates, allowing payments without vehicles having to stop.

The process does not require physical toll booths on the highways.

Responding to stakeholders queries on progress towards  e-tolling at the company's fifth Annual General Meeting, Zinara chief executive officer Nkosinathi Ncube said the company was making good progress and was already in the selection phase for an implementation partner.

"Our primary strategy is the e-tolling way, a process which we have already started on, we did a tender on the expression of interest and we had 37 companies including some international companies.

"We have already short-listed five, so our ultimate strategy on collection cost is to go e-tolling and it will help us in a number of ways," said Mr Ncube.

Transport and Infrastructural Development Deputy Minister, Mike Madiro implored the roads authority to expedite adoption of the e-tolling technology to cut costs and lessen congestion at toll gates.

"I challenge Zinara to be innovative, especially towards a more technology-centric operation, one key area is the need to have a sustainable tollgate de-congestion management system at our tollgates.

"This will also go a long way in improving the revenue inflows as leakages will also be minimized," Deputy Minister Madiro said.

In the 2020 financial year, Zinara's revenue grew by 963 percent to $5,8 billion compared to $557 million in 2019.

According to Zinara, the growth in revenue was driven primarily by four main income streams including toll fees, vehicle licensing fees, transit fees, and fuel levies.

Toll fees contributed 23 percent of total income in the period under review at $1,3 billion from $182 million in 2019, while vehicle license fees contributed 20 percent at $1,19 billion from $140 million in 2019.

Fuel levies dominated Zinara's income mix at $2,1 billion, which was 36 percent of the total income, from $50 million in 2019. Transit fees reached $1,1 billion. Overall, gross margins improved to 78 percent in 2020 from 71 percent in 2019.

"The positive company performance trajectory noted in 2019 continued in the year 2020. Road user fee collections increased and consequently disbursements to road authorities increased by 583 percent.

"Cash at the bank improved, ensuring that 2021 started with a good cash flow headroom to support the critical Emergency Road Rehabilitation Program 2 (ERRP)," board chairman George Manyaya said in his remarks at the AGM.

In the 2020 period, disbursements to road authorities increased 531 percent to $978 million, a considerable growth from  $155 million in 2019.

Provincial Road Engineers (DOR) received 45 percent of the payouts which is the biggest chunk of total disbursements at $436 million from $65 million in the prior year.

Urban Councils received $386 million which is 39 percent of the total disbursements.

Zinara last had an AGM on December 16 2020 and this was the first annual general meeting since the new board came up in 2019.

Source - The Herald
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