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Alba Iulia
Thursday, May 27, 2021

Toll Fees on the Zambian side of the newly-commissioned Kazungula Bridge are exorbitant

Columns Toll Fees on the Zambian side of the newly-commissioned Kazungula Bridge are...

By Gilbert Liswaniso

The exorbitant toll fees being experienced on the Zambian side of the newly-commissioned Kazungula Bridge are due to the recklessness of outgoing President Edgar Lungu’s Patriotic Front (PF) government which failed to pay its nearly US$15 million contribution to the project.

Instead of meeting its obligation towards the joint Zambia-Botswana North-South Corridor project, Mr Lungu’s PF regime was spending US$42 million on procuring 42 second-hand fire trucks.

They were also awarded contracts to their PF-aligned sympathisers to buy ambulances at inflated prices.

It is now the common people who are being punished for the PF’s pure lack of spending priorities as they were hell-bent on dubiously raising money for their election campaign instead of working for the Zambian people.

Because Zambia had failed to honour its obligation, the government of Botswana had to come in to pay the amount that should have come from this country.

Now, to recoup the money the Botswana government spent on the project on behalf of the Zambian government, the toll fees on the Zambian side of the Kazungula Bridge have been increased.

As the United Party for National Development (UPND), we find it shameful that the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) will be collecting revenue that will not go into the Zambian treasury but into the coffers of Botswana.

Given the scale of the economic challenges the Zambian citizens continue to face, it is an act of both economic exploitation and sabotage for the PF to continue punishing people in an attempt to patch up the inescapable cost of government corruption in the execution of government projects.

It is worth noting that with the Zambian kwacha continuously on an unpredictable downward spiral against the United States dollar, Zambian business people will have real challenges coping with the toll fees as their businesses continue to tumble.

We urge the PF administration, through the ZRA, to quickly review the toll amounts and realign them to support the already struggling businesses of Zambian citizens.

The priority for the incoming UPND administration will be to leverage such bilateral projects to support the growth of Zambian businesses through cross-border transit incentives.

This especially because we are aware that the majority of the people involved in in cross-border business are young people.

This is in line with the UPND manifesto which guarantees business opportunities, meaningful employment and job creation.

We, therefore, wish to echo the advice by our party president, Mr Hakainde Hichilema, for the PF administration to speak for the young people and women involved in cross-border trade by immediately revisiting and revising the toll fees.

34 COMMENTS

  1. That’s because the PF party has overloaded Zambia with massive unsustainable debts so they raise tolls exorbitantly.

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  2. Economic recovery is like steering a large water vessel. It may just be that the next government spends its first term on the rudder. You will need to articulate humane governance as a logical first step. Godspeed banene.

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  3. Traffic predictions will be less than half because of these exorbitant roll fees. And then the fees will have to be increased even further. There is one winner though: the pontoon operator can’t believe his luck; he planned to abolish his operation but now he’s doubling the daily number of trips!

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  4. President Edgar Chagwa Lungu will continue being your president. Upnd unfortunately cannot even take a minute to thank what PF has done.

    You have nothing to build if your were given power to rule hence the need to condemn everything.

    WISE PEOPLE WILL SAY THANK YOU WHERE ITS DUE.

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  5. What you would expect from a country who’s president is a fraud convict lawyer who even could not run a law firm ???

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  6. Here we go again with malabish! when I started reading the article I was expecting some factual stories and a comparison of the fees but as usual the author is politically charged. Why are we so obsessed with debt? So what if the toll fees are exorbitant, you are paying for the privilege and the savings from quicker transit times make up for the high fees. This is cheap politics from UPND, maybe the supreme leader is crying foul because the high toll fees will impact his cash flow when restocking his cows from Botswana.

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  7. I sometimes wonder if at all these guys will stop the lies they create once in power. Time is not with us to tell the voters what we intend to do once in power. Mr. Meetings is also not helping he is busy recruiting finished Bemba politicians instead of telling the Bembaz in Seesa what he intends to do. Looks like you are bypassing plot one and end up somewhere I shantumbu. Woke up and stop creating stories, we all know that the thieves almost failed to pay for the bridge but they eventually pai Only a villager in Magoye and an ignorant youth will believe you

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  8. How do you complain about debt on one hand and then on the other hand moan about a system put in place to pay off that debt? What planet are you living on? stop reading those outdated fake economics text books designed to direct your way of thinking like a poor person. The Kazungula crossing is an additional choice, if you can’t afford it, use Chirundu.

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  9. @Future Zed. Well said
    We need proper information to validate this opinion. We have educated morons who fail to research and get facts before hitting the key board. Our tolls fees are not expensive compared to what? Where is it cheaper? I have not head any transport company or track drivers raising that matter.

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  10. “The priority for the “incoming UPND”administration will be to leverage such bilateral projects to support the growth of Zambian businesses through cross-border transit incentives.”? A political party with such vague statements should never see the day as a ruling party in Zambia.

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  11. What else is really affordable in Zambia at the moment if I may ask? Prices and fares seem to be skyrocketing by the day and nothing is being done to curb this alarming situation. Companies and private drivers should protest these exorbitant charges because they are not there to help them but to save the careless borrowing of the govt. Wake up people, the guys are having it easy while you are burdened.

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  12. Total misinformation. It is not only on the Zambian side. The fees are the same on both sides and can be paid in: US$, PULA or Kwacha.
    Of course they are high and may surely discourage some people from using it, especially using a vehicle.

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  13. USD259M isn’t a gift, the financiers need their money back with interest within a specified period of time. So I think technocrats have done their homework to arrive at those figures. These are the details that aren’t in the public domain. We deserve to be told what is involved, that’s how we’ll appreciate what Govt is doing. It’s not our bridge until we fully pay for it. There are other logistical factors involved such as electricity, security, support staff etc whose portion of expenses might come from the same revenue. I hope that info will be availed when Parliament resumes sitting. The Kwacha equivalent looks high because our currency is at its weakest. Va mahala vinataa. Let’s pay for these projects to be sustainable

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  14. Liswaniso and he happens to be UPND…..what do you expect…give credit where it’s due…stop criticizing out of hate for Lungu…am not PF but Kazungula bridge will help Zambia

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  15. The fees are payable in USD. Whether Botswana or Zambia, their is only one charge. Difference is in exchange rate. Lies have short legs. Zambia owes Tswanas no Pula.

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  16. UPND National Youth Chairman Gilbert Liswaniso could do a much better job making his case. Without telling his reader anything about what the tolls are or how the bridge was financed (mainly with a loan from JICA and AfDB), he jumps immediately to fire trucks and ambulances. Yap, yap, yap. Sorry, Gilbert, but if you and the youth you lead wish to taken seriously please come with something more than rhetoric and aspersions.

    BTW – A quick google says the cost of crossing by motorcycle or bicycle is K150, car K350, and 16-seater minibus or van K450 (K28 per person if full). A 65-seater bus is K1,450 (K22 pp if full). Not cheap (especially for a bike!), but is this a scandal of epic proportion? How do these costs compare with the pontoon?

  17. “The project scope includes a bridge linking Botswana and Zambia over the Zambezi River to replace the existing ferry and juxtaposed one-stop border facilities at Kazungula. The estimated total project cost is UA 162.06 million (approximately USD 259.3 million) funded through a co-financing arrangement with JICA. The Bank covers from the ADF window UA 51.00 million, equivalent to 31.5% of the total project cost. The balance is shared between JICA (57.5%), Governments (9.2%) and EU-ITF Grant (1.8%). The project implementation period is five (5) years”.

  18. Meanwhile there is no diesel in the country, people are busy with questionable adoptions, commissioning some debt bridge and fighting at their secretariats, and our journalists as usual not reporting such important things

  19. Sick politics.

    ECL made this dream come true. Why the heck is this toothpick so obsessed with toll fees.
    The bridge is done and dusted. Deal with it.
    Extremely jealous packed tantrums.

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  20. This article smells the stinky politics of the up and down full of PF archivements. The author is suffering from serious symptoms of HH syndrome.

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  21. But where is the comparison? Says Zambian side and fails to put the prices for both, which actually happens to be the same.
    In opposition, you are relevant if you criticize even without facts sometimes.

  22. Liswaniso, just keep your trap shut. Yoir utopian way of thinking has no place in reality. The tolls are no more exhorbitant than on the Bots side, get your facts right. If one cannot afford the tolls, dont travel or better still, fly and lets see if it will be cheaper. Big up to Zambian and Bots govt for this wonderful project. No silly politics here.

  23. To me the bridge is flagship project for the PF. Give praise where it is due. Your president,HH is failing to make a simple decision to choose a running mate, what more with complex issues such as a bridge.

  24. The fees in dollars are reasonable, it only when translated into kwacha that trouble starts. therefore, the strategy should be to improve the Zambia economy, as these fees just 24 months ago, would have been half the kwacha value reflected today. The poor performance of the local currency should not be hipped on Covid 19 please. Some of the decisions have really costed this country and her people.

  25. Paying for the bridge is not a problem, we all know it’s a loan that needs repayment.

    The toll gates should be regulated in a way that if you pay at one toll gate you don’t have to pay at another toll gate for at least the whole day. Not as it is ,that if you pass thru three toll gates then you pay three times.

  26. I thought with the opening of the bridge things will be much easier and we won’t be spending hours at there but this is not so. Now one should be prepared to spend at least a minimum of 3 hours. We have gone back and surely this is unacceptable in this time and age

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