By Sylvester Kumwenda
Dowa, Mana: The Roads Funds Administration (RFA) has said Malawians should embrace the toll gate phenomena as it is the most viable way of mobilizing funds for improved and sustainable road maintenance activities.
Masauko Mngwaluko, Public Relations Manager for RFA made the sentiments recently in Dowa when the organisation engaged the District Executive Committee to orient them on a new toll gate project to be constructed in the district.
Mngwaluko said the RFA has already secured funds for the project.
“The site we have identified is Nkhamanga which is around 7 to 8 kilometres from Mponela heading Kasungu.
“We are currently in the process of acquiring land and settle all compensation related issues, and for our implementing partner (The Roads Authority) to acquire consultants for designs and other technicalities,” he said.
But, Mngwaluko said the project will also utilise the rehabilitation works scheduled for the M1 road so that the section of the road that will host the toll gate, be constructed under the M1 project in terms of surface preparation.
He said this will prevent duplication of works and save resources.
Mngwaluko said as the organisation is poised to construct toll gates in other districts, people should embrace this as a reliable way of mobilising resources for road maintenance.
“As a country we are struggling because almost 85 percent of the fund is from the fuel levy and tolling is a new sure way of raising the funds. We are looking at the user taking charge of the responsibility of maintaining the road by contributing something on the arrangement called User – Pay principle.
“This is the time Malawians embrace the toll gate culture because it has many benefits such as ensuring safety roads and sustained rehabilitations.
Dowa Director of administration Thomas Mwafongo said the council welcomes the development saying the toll gate will bring other benefits like revenue collection, boost of local businesses around the facility which will eventually lead to job creation.
He however called for prudence in financial transactions and quality road maintenance works when the time comes.
“When the time for the toll gate comes, to give back in terms of road maintenance, we would like to see quality, durable works of high standards being done. It pains to see something we have worked hard for go down the drain because of poor workmanship.
“We hope this will be different here and the results of the toll gate will be envied here,” he said.
Currently the country has operational toll gates at Kalinyeke in Dedza and Chingeni in Ntcheu.