ACTIONAID PRODS GOVT TO RETHINK DECISION ON TOLL FEES
ActionAid Zambia has learnt with displeasure the intentions by government to raise more revenue by hiking toll fees by a 100 percent.
This proposal is too much and therefore it should be a phased approach over a period of time. The danger with an abrupt rise in toll fees of 100 percent is that with the recent fuel increase, this will trigger another rise in public transport costs. We would like to ask government to rescind its decision on this and come up with better ways of raising revenue.
Already the public transporters have hiked fees and may have no option but to hike fees again as a response to the increase in toll fees. Increase in transport costs could push cost of production high and may also trigger price increase in essential commodities.
These increases will have a spiral effect on road users and that burden will be passed on to the tax payer and in turn increase levels of poverty.
We are challenging government to come clean on how the toll fees funds are being used. It was reported on radio today that government has raised over K1 billion since 2013 to March 2016, but the public has not been told how this money is being used.
With the alarming resource mis-management cited in the latest Auditor General report and little action taken by government, it is an injustice and shameful for a government to be asking for more tax from people through increased user fees while paying a blind eye to mismanagement of public resources raised through taxing mechanism such as toll fees.
ActionAid would like to remind the government that the escalating levels of poverty and inequality in the country need to be addressed as a matter of urgency as opposed to passing the high cost of living to the citizenry who are already suffocated and barely managing to earn a living.
Nalucha Nganga – Ziba
Country Director- ActionAid Zambia