The United Party for National Development (UPND) has expressed concern about the high levels of misinformation surrounding the recently signed concession agreement for the Lusaka-Ndola dual carriageway between the Government of the Republic of Zambia and Macro Ocean Investment Limited. The opposition party has accused the government of allowing the contractor to collect all the revenue realized from the toll-gates for 22 years, a claim that has been refuted by the New Dawn Administration.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, a political consultant in the office of the Secretary General, Mark Simuuwe, advised the opposition and its surrogates to avoid pushing a wrong narrative as it has the potential to harm the economy. He explained that the revenue realized from the toll fees shall be shared between the government and the engaged contractor during the 22-year concession period. He added that the government had no capacity to do a road of such magnitude amid a serious debt which the previous government struggled to negotiate.
Mr. Simuuwe further intimated that the Patriotic Front (PF) intended to borrow US$2 billion to work on the same road but changed their mind after being criticized that the money was too much and later renegotiated downwards to US$1.250 billion. He said the New Dawn Administration believed in prudence in its fiscal management, hence renegotiating the contract sum further down to US$577 million in line with its campaign promises, given the country’s debt position and economic fragility.
The Lusaka-Ndola dual carriageway serves as the main link between the main Copper producing regions of the Copperbelt and North Western provinces and the sea. Mr. Simuuwe said it would be folly for the UPND and its government to allow a contractor to get all the revenue realized from the toll fees for 22 years at the expense of national development, assuring citizens to retain faith in the government as it works at stabilizing the economy.
The New Dawn Administration has promised to avail the country with details on how proceeds from the toll fees will be shared once the 36-month project is completed with anticipated increased traffic flow and reduced road fatalities.