Toll roads not coming to Nam anytime soon

06 Dec 2015 11:10am
WINDHOEK, 06 DEC (NAMPA) - Namibia is years away from having a toll road system implemented, which should be good news to road users aware of how residents in a neighbouring state have expressed utter disapproval of such a system.
In an interview with Nampa on Friday, Road Fund Administration (RFA) Chief Executive Officer, Ali Ipinge said there are no plans for tolling as a concept in Namibia and that the country is still years away from having a toll road system in terms of physical tolls on the roads, as there are no alternative roads to avoid tolling if the system was to be introduced.
Ipinge was speaking to this news agency on the sidelines of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI)’s National Council meeting, where it engaged Government on ways in which the two bodies can work together towards development.
The National Council is the highest policy-making structure within NCCI and this year’s session focused on the improvement of dialogue between Government and the chamber.
The meeting also approved the NCCI’s 2016 financial year programme and budget.
During the meeting, the RFA delivered a presentation on its operations, and questions arose on whether Namibia is looking at introducing toll roads, especially on roads such as the dual carriageway between Windhoek and Okahandja.
“I think what we have adopted is what we call the road user charges, which are in fact implementing what we call a shadow toll. Shadow toll means as a road user you contribute to the maintenance of the roads through the road fund, but having you stop on the roads to pay at a toll gate is not something that we are planning on doing immediately,” he said.
Ipinge further said studies have been done on tolling in the past, of which the results were not so conclusive and the results did not show that it would work.
“There were more questions than answers and it also calls for changes in our legislation as our own Road Fund Act does not speak of a toll road system as part of our revenue,” said Ipinge.
Cabinet approved the feasibility study on toll roads, which was done in 2007 at a cost of N.dollars 500 000 paid by the Roads Authority.
A toll road is a public or private roadway for which a fee is paid for passage. It is implemented to recoup the cost of road construction and maintenance, which on a public road is like a form of taxation.
In neighbouring South Africa, car number plates are scanned at the toll road by gantries and bills are mailed to the homes of registered users if they have not paid a capped fee of close to N.dollars 500 a month.
In attempts to have the toll road system stopped, various organisations in South Africa have campaigned unsuccessfully for several years to have the project stopped.
The toll road systems in South Africa were designed to fund the N.dollars 20 billion Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) which was implemented in 2007 and was largely completed in 2011.