Opposition condemns toll roads

Staff Writer

The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) and Landless Peoples Movement(LPM) have raised concern over the Road Fund intending to introduce toll roads on some road sections in Namibia.

PDM and LPM said they will oppose the establishment of toll roads which the fund say would see them generating close to N$4 billion over a five-year period.

“The Toll Gate dream shall be vehemently rejected the same we rejected the 2% solidarity tax. The economic bane on consumers today can never allow asking people to pay more with volatile oil prices. The introduction of toll gates in Namibia will only overburden transport users. The PDM intensely rejects the planned introduction of Toll Gates in Namibia as it’s an exploitation of the people that are already struggling to make ends meet. We urge Cabinet to abort the introduction of Toll Gates in Namibia. We rather request the Government to find viable solutions in funding and maintaining the road infrastructure in Namibia,” said PDM.

PDM said according to the Chief Executive Officer Ali Ipinge the fund has identified over 70 road sections across the country for tolling, but only 23 are viable for setting up.

LPM spokesperson Eneas Emvula said introducing the tolling system in Namibia will push vehicle owners into bad debts as they will struggle to settle e-toll accounts with the Namibia Traffic Information Systems (NaTIS).

“We condemn such a deceptive public initiative and call on the Namibian citizens to not accept e-Tolls, “ he said.

However according to RFA executive for planning, Namene Kalili the fund has not yet established the toll gates but have only conducted a feasibility study of 70 roads and that only 21 are full cost recovery toll roads.

“It’s not something that has been established yet. We are still investigating and have only conducted a feasibility study. We have also done a financial evaluation that we can generate finances with the toll roads. We have looked at 70 roads so far and there are 21 roads that we have identified as full cost recovery roads that then would be completed in the first phase and it’s going to take about seven years to complete the 21 that’s about tolling 3 different roads each year,” he said The RFA administration commissioned a feasibility study on tolling, which was finalised in 2020. The study findings indicate that tolling of certain road sections in Namibia is feasible and viable and that collectively, these roads could generate in excess of N$3.9 billion over a five-year period.

He also stated that the fund intends to consult with the general public before making a decision. “We want to engage the public and see if we can hear their concerns and arguments about the toll roads and they hear ours. It’s definitely not something that going to happen now. If all goes well the soonest, we can get a toll gate is in the next two to three years,” added Kalili.

By Observer