ZIMBABWE is introducing electronic tollgates on some of its major highways after taking delivery of new equipment from China, officials said.
The Transport Ministry recently revealed that it made US$33 million from Zimbabwe Revenue Authority -manned tollgates last year.
Partson Mbiriri, the permanent secretary in the ministry, told parliament that the new development w2as designed to increase efficiency.
“Our equipment is now at Beira, Mozambique, and we are waiting for it to be brought into the country,” Mbiriri said while giving evidence to the Parliamentary Committee on Transport and Communications.
“Zesa are giving us quotations of the costs needed to install electricity in the country’s toll gates and the back-up services we need in the event of the power shortages.”
China has emerged as Zimbabwe’s key business partner following the economic embargo and travel ban slapped on President Robert Mugabe and his key allies in Zanu PF by the European Union and the US.
Mbiriri’s revelations came just weeks after Transport Minister Nicholas Goche told Parliament that the manual tollgates currently on the motorways were “shambolic”.
Zimbabwe has 25 tollgates along the highways countrywide and are manned by officers from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) whose performance has been widely questioned.
In November 2010, two Zimra employees were arrested in a scam involving US$1,7 million. The pair stole tollgate tickets worth more than US$1,7 million which were being issued to motorists instead of the official tickets.
Mbiriri however insists the tolling system was working well.
He said: “The money we are collecting from the toll gates is going towards the maintenance of the highways which we have managed to keep them in good shape. The electronic tolling will be useful in helping to control leakages of the funds being collected.
“Our teams went to South Africa to study how the system works and we are ready to implement it in the country.”