RFA pushes toll roads, identifies 23 sites

Road Fund Administration (RFA) CEO Ali Ipinge on Tuesday says the organisation has identified 23 road sections for the establishment of tollgates in Namibia. 

This was after the Fund had identified over 70 road sections across the country for tolling, with only 23 viable for setting up tollgates. 

“The impact of it is that we are going to see a massive increase in our revenues, by about one third where we are now. This will translate to about between N$500 million to N$750 million per annum, just by tolling 23 sections of our road network,” he said. 

This comes as the Roads Authority (RA) earlier this year revealed that Namibia is considering tolling some of the country's roads as a sustainable source of revenue for ongoing road maintenance and improvement, with the government, however, having the final say on the plan. 

Road tolling is when drivers pay a fee to make use of certain sections of the road, with funds raised used for the road's upkeep and maintenance. 

Reacting to the announcement, Popular Democratic Movement’s Secretary for Information and Publicity Hidipo Hamata said the tollgate dream will be vehemently rejected the same way the 2% solidarity tax was rejected. 

Thus, the official opposition party urged the Cabinet to abort the introduction of tollgates in Namibia. 

"We rather request the government to find viable solutions in funding and maintaining the roads infrastructure in Namibia. The economic bane on consumers today can never allow asking people to pay more with volatile oil prices," he said. 

He noted that the introduction of tollgates in Namibia will only overburden transport users and deems the initiative as an "exploitation" of the people that are already struggling to make ends meet. 

"It is dumbfounding that while there is a strong push in South Africa for the scrapping of e-tolls, which will this year cost the South African government R23.7 billion to settle the debt of the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) emanating from e-tolls, the Namibian government, nevertheless, wants to implement the same catastrophic system at the expense of road users," said Hamata. 

According to Ipinge, over the last year, RFA’s Revenue increased by 11% to N$2.42 billion as at March 2022, of which over N$2.2 billion had been invested into the management, maintenance and rehabilitation of roads, with the balance used to repay debt and loans. 

In April the RFA raised N$350 million from Nedbank Namibia to finance its Low Volume Road Seal Strategy (LVRSS). 

As part of its strategy, RFA intends to upgrade highly trafficked gravel roads to a low volume bitumen seal road, with a less than 15-year design life, with over 14 roads countrywide upgraded. 

The RFA CEO said the Fund had attended to major rehabilitation activities on key national roads such as Mariental-Keetmans; Karibib-Omaruru; Rundu-Divundu; Onunho-Eenhana and supported re-gravelling and maintenance of roads in Etosha National Park to support the tourism sector. 

“We continue to assist the governement with the labour-based and access roads programme – connecting our communities to critical services and amenities such as schools, clinics and hospitals," Ipinge noted. 

Namibia has a road network of approximately 49,000km, valued at N$101 billion, of which about 90% is unpaved. 

Since inception, the RFA has invested more than N$20 billion in roads infrastructure. Namibia ranked number one in Africa and 21 in the world in terms of quality of roads infrastructure.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 01 November 2022 18:44

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