NRFA is building a homegrown sustainable National Road Tolling (NRT), says Engineer Wallece Mumba
By Derrick Sinjela
NATIONAL Road Fund Agency (NRFA) Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Engineer Wallece Mumba says the overall implementation of the National Road Tolling Programme (NRTP) as a home grown solution to sustainable road maintenance is attested by a local contribution at K 2.7 billion raised while foreign was at 76 per cent K3.4 billion was received from external contributions.
Engineer Mumba is elated that the National Road Fund Agency team in 2019 recorded a 90 per cent budget target performance, now a global brand with many countries seeking counsel from Zambia.
Alluding to the NRFA Act 13 of 2002, whose three pillars are; resource mobilisation, fiduciary management of resources and value for money, Engineer Mumba explained that the agency appointed the Road Development Agency (RDA) to construct toll gates, after which the NRFA manage it by recruiting employees and overall operation in regard to billing motorists at all the 36 countrywide points.
Explained Engineer Mumba: “We are the resource envelope for all road projects and related activities in Zambia. We are guided by the Public Finance Management Act Number 1 of 2018 , as it relates to the management and control of public finances. We have a proud record of unqualified audited accounts from the time we were created in 2006.”
Engineer Mumba says for 14 years since it’s establishment, the National Road Fund Agency local revenue streams include fuel Levy, road tax, weighbridge fees and fines, tools and Government Direct Appropriations (GDA’s), while externally getting loans and grants from cooperating partners.
“We allocate these financial resources to implementing agencies, the Road Development Agency (RDA), the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA), the Ministry of Local Government for construction, rehabilitation, maintenance, road safety, education and regulation, and to the National Council for Construction (NCC) for capacity building programmes,” noted a forward looking Engineer Mumba.
Engineer Mumba recollected that during the financial year 1st January 2019 to December 31st 2019, the National Road Fund Agency had set aside a road sector budget of K6.45 billion with local resources contributing K2 billion, while external contributions were pegged at K4.4 billion.
“We are pleased to announce that we received K2.7 billion of the local resources way above the budgeted amount of K2 billion and got K3. 4 billion under external resources,” observed Engineer Mumba.
Engineer Mumba is delighted that the NRFA leveraged on the Road Tolling Programme and obtained an additional facility from the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) amounting to K1.8 billion for selected road projects and completion of toll infrastructure for revenue collection.
In the year under review, Engineer Mumba says the NRFA processed a total of 5, 958 Interim Payment Certificates (IPCS) or invoices from various road contractors and consultants valued at K2.7 billion which is the local component of the mobilised resources and saved K29.56 million on processed IPCS, as a result of computational errors, over certification and unsubstantiated certification.
During 2019, Engineer Mumba pointed out that the National Road Fund Agency continued implementing the National Road Tolling Programme through the administration and management of Road Tolling Facilities (RTF’s) at Inland Toll Gates (ITGs) and through oversight of collected road tolls at ports of entry.
NRFA Director and CEO Engineer Wallece Mumba restated that the implementation of the Road Tolling Programme is in conformity with the agency’s mandate of resource mobilisation as stated in the Road Fund Act No. 2 of of 2002 and is in line with the National Road Fund Agency’s ‘Mission‘ “To proactively mobilise resources and effectively manage and administer the Road Fund in a transparent and sustainable way to ensure value for money and stimulate socio-economic development.”
Engineer Mumba said he was pleased to announce that a total of K1. 212 billion was collected from both Inland Toll Gates (ITG) and Ports of Entry (PoE) against projected collections of K1. 046 giving an overall collection performance of 116 per cent.
Similarly, an increase of thirty-one per cent (31%) was recorded over the 2018 Road Tolling Revenue collections of K926.6 million.
Engineer Wallece Mumba says the collected Road Toll Revenue in 2019 represented sixty per cent (60%) contribution of the 2019 budgeted Road Sector Local Resources Component.
The NRFA Director and Chief Executive Officer Engineer Wallece Mumba told journalists at a Media Briefing in Lusaka on Saturday 8th February 2020, that a total of 14, 125, 277 vehicle passages were processed in 2019 against 8, 502, 797 in 2918, representing a sixty-six per cent (66%) increase.
Engineer Mumba says of the 14, 125, 277 vehicle passages, 2, 431,542 were processed under the Local User and Frequent User discount scheme compared to 1, 083,000 passages in 2018.
Engineer Mumba says the tolls revenue was predominantly collected on cash basis with only 1,039,627 vehicle passages paying through the Electronic Card System (ECS) generating K126, 595, 055.
“We are determined to grow the transaction volume under the Electronic Payment System (EPS) to more than fifty per cent (50%) total Inland Road Toll Collections (IRTC’s) as this will ultimately reduce road toll collection costs and minimise the risk associated with cash handling,” observed a confident Engineer Mumba.
Engineer Mumba attributed the noted increase in vehicle passages in 2019 as compared to 2018 to the eight (8) additional Toll Stations operationalized within the year under review in the Southern, Copperbelt, Luapula, Muchinga and Western Provinces of Zambia, bringing the total number of Inland Toll Stations (ITS) to twenty-four (24) in comparison to sixteen (16) Toll Stations as at December 2918.
Engineer Mumba named Wilson Mofya Chakulya, between Kitwe and Chingola, Chilonga between Serenje and Mpika, Daniel Mukombwe between Batoka and Choma, Enoch Kavindele between Chingola and Solwezi, Mpingwe between Luansobe and Mpongwe, Ntoposhi between Mansa and Chipili as additional Toll Gates.
“In Western Province, we had Lui, Tapo and Mweke. The National Road Fund Agency managed to migrate toll operations from temporary toll facilities to new permanent toll stations at Kafulafuta and Manyumbi. We are currently, collecting road tolls from 24 inland tolling points and 10 Ports of Entry,” noted Engineer Mumba.
Engineer Mumba assured stakeholders that toll collections and disbursements continue to be done in an open and transparent manner with continuous monitoring of the tolling system to ensure that all bottlenecks are identified and candidly addressed.
“This is done through a control centre which had been established at Head Office to provide real time operations oversight at toll stations and in all the booths. Further, we have video recordings for each and every transaction with cumulative totals of the collected revenue from each of the interconnected toll stations. All transactions in the system have an audit trail which enables verification of all transactions including receipting and we have opened up all our tolling facilities to various interest groups to appreciate the internal controls and general operations of the road Tolling system. Through the Closed-circuit television (CCTV) installed in Toll Booths, we are able to detect any fraudulent activities involving those of our staff mandated to collect tolls and whenever we have such cases, they have been dealt within accordance with our disciplinary code and grievance procedures,” explained Engineer Mumba pointing out that with respect to utilisation of revenue, the National Road Fund Agency is guided by Section 11 of the Tolls Act No. 14 of 2011 , which states that the toll or any other charges imposed for the use of a toll road and collected by the agency shall form part of the the Road Fund and shall be used exclusively for the construction, maintenance and rehabilitation of public roads.
Engineer Mumba stated that when collected, road tolls are put together with other revenues from Fuel Levy and Road Users Charges and disbursed for all road projects and related activities.
Engineer Mumba says key among the noted road activities are routine maintenance works of the Zambian Road Network on which National Road Fund Agency finances over 500 small scale contractors in the ten (10) provinces in Zambia namely; Central, Copperbelt, Eastern, Luapula, Lusaka, Muchinga, Northern, Northwestern, Southern and Western, on whom K336 million was spent in 2019.
Engineer Mumba says in 2019, road projects financed included K303 million for the Kazungula Bridge Project, K206 million for periodic maintenance, K375 million for road rehabilitation, K62 million for consultancy services and K26 million for emergency works among other disbursements.
The National Road Fund Agency Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Engineer Wallece Mumba said a total of K590 million was received between December 2019 and January 2020 from which K452 million out was paid representing seventy – seven per cent (77%) to local contractors and consultants and only K73 million paid to foreign contractors.
“We hope to continue on the same growth trajectory in terms of toll revenue collections. The general Outlook for the year 2020 is positive and promising. We have inland toll stations at various levels of construction and these are expected to be commissioned in 2020, which will bring the total number of toll collection points to 40 countrywide and the agency is expected to collect K1.6 billion in toll revenue in 2020,” an optimistic Engineer Mumba said.
The National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) Director and Chief Executive Officer Engineer Wallece Mumba thanked the parent ministry, the Ministry of Finance, through Finance Minister Dr. Bwalya Ng’andu for immeasurable guidance and support, all road sector stakeholders for the cooperation rendered to the agency as it arrives to become a sustainable road fund.
“It is a growing sustainable fund, 34 toll points out of which 10 are at border areas. We engaged RTSA , and now collect at Mukambo Border,” observed Engineer Wallance Mumba, CEO of the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA), expects his team to add 6 toward a Target of 40 toll Gates countrywide.
“Discounts for local user and frequent user if pass ten times monthly pay K10 instead of K20. When a glinch or challenge exists, a quick response is readily in place, and keep an open door policy evident through interactions with a parliamentary committee, Economic Association of Zambia (EAZ) led by EAZ President Dr. Lubinda Haabazoka, Zambia Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI), Minister of Finance and Media tours,” said Engineer Mumba.
Showering praise on National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) Public Relations Manager Alphosius Hamachila, for hosting a Public Relations Officer from their counterparts in Malawi.
“Zambia is now a role model offering mentorship to many countries, with Malawi sending a Public Relations Officer. We are pleased that Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is interested in coming to learn as stated by ZACCI.
The Minister of Finance has been supportive, and our team paid 500 local contractors. There is no project with no challenges, but local and foreign partners are impressed with our overall performance as National Road Fund Agency,” said Engineer Mumba in response to a question.
“Kenya has dared us that if we sit on our performance laurels, the Kenyans are clearly plotting to unseat our mentorship,” teased Engineer Mumba.
The National Savings & Credit BankBank (NATSAVE) and the National Pensions Savings Agency (NAPSA) are helping us raise more money and both the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) led by Governor Dr. Denny Kalyalya are engaging us.
The NRFA is looking ahead, by pursuing and hoping to move on a trajectory of sufficient road financing.
“We thank the Ministry of Finance, which continues to set standards, motorists, The Press, all considered as strong partners in promoting value for money road fund,” says Engineer Wallance Mumba, CEO of the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA).
Engineer Mumba says Malawi, is taking a copy and paste approach; Mozambique opened two toll Gates, Namibia, Lesotho, Madagascar and Mauritius, Kenya and Burundi continue to get mentorship from the National Road Fund Agency.
Engineer Mumba says the agency will continue to insure infrastructure so as to achieve road and bridges that remain in good stead.
“For roads, Tolling continues to assist in keeping it in good user friendly conditions. Citizens and road users must not vandalise public resources as the cost of replacing road signage and overall infrastructure is quite expensive,” admonished Engineer Wallece Mumba.
NRFA Director Road Tolling Daniel Mtonga says K1.6 billion is expected to be raised from January 2020 to December 2020, and a total of 8,500 electronic cards have been used as a consequence of a cashless billing mechanism.
Mr. Mtonga says the National Road Fund Agency raised K116 million through the cashless mechanism.
Ms. Muyunda Sakala says no losses we’re recorded in 2019 aside from amounts owed to local and foreign contractors.
Thursday, 2 January 2020
I am pleased to announce that my ministry has given the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) K300 million to facilitate dismantling of arrears owed to local contractors with respect to road sector projects and related activities.
The target beneficiaries are local road contractors and consultants under the Road Development Agency (RDA), and those under the Ministry of Local Government.
The release of these funds is not only a cash flow stimulus for the targeted recipients but a demonstration of Government’s commitment to the domestic arrears dismantling strategy.
In addition, it supports the directive given by His Excellency, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia, to fully implement the 20 percent mandatory subcontracting policy to empower and improve quality and capacities of local contractors, the beneficiaries of this funding.
Going forward, my ministry, through the NRFA, will continue to strengthen its domestic resource mobilisation efforts for the road sector. I am glad to note that we closed the year 2019 with an increased road tolling footprint across the country from 16 at the beginning of the year, to 21 as of this month. We will also put in place a system that will ensure that the main road contractors, are also paid, in due course.
I am also keen to see that strong internal systems and controls are maintained at NRFA in order to ensure that we remain on track with both ensuring that targeted road works are duly completed and that the debt dismantling strategy is not derailed.
Bwalya K. E. Ngandu, MP
MINISTER OF FINANCE