Chitungwiza Residents Trust (CHITREST) has expressed concern over government of Zimbabwe’s controversial move to introduce urban tolling system saying this expose the government’s greediness as it amounts to double taxation.
The residents body alleged that Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) was failing to account for money collected from tollgates spread across the country with state of roads in the country failing to justify the existence of such a facility.
“The proposal by the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to introduce urban tollgates to fundraise for cities’ roads rehabilitation programmes is a clear testimony of how misguided the government’s priorities are and the total divorce the government is from bread and butter issues.
“This proposal comes at a time when the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) is failing to account for millions of dollars that it collects annually through tollgates in Zimbabwe’s highways and the vehicle licensing fees.
“The poor state of the road network in the country does not even justify the existence of a roads administration authority, in ZINARA,” said CHITREST in a statement released to the media.
CHITREST added that the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) should be seized with making sure that ZINARA effectively and efficiently manages and distributes to local authorities equitably the huge sums of money that it collects.
“The Chitungwiza Residents Trust (Chitrest) views the position by UCAZ as a scapegoat of having failed to claim the share of urban local authorities from ZINARA and hence now trying to create another avenue of squeezing money from the same motorists that are paying to ZINARA,” reads part of the statement.
CHITREST believes the introduction of urban tolling will amount to double taxation accusing the government of being greedy and ignoring the biting economic situation in the country.
“We feel that UCAZ should currently be concerned with improving the basic social service delivery matters in urban centres such as provision of clean and potable water, refuse collection and waste management.
“What pains us most is that Harare, where the UCAZ president Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni is the Mayor, is currently experiencing a typhoid outbreak, which has so far claimed two human lives but the Mayor is busy focusing on revenue collection instead of improving the living conditions of the general populace,” said CHITREST.
The organisation called on citizens to unite and resist urban tolling which they said is a clear indication of the government’s rebellion against the citizenry.