State defends plan to tax mo­torists twice for road

Roads re­quire about Sh140bn an­nu­ally for main­te­nance, says PS

The Star (Kenya) - - News - WEITERE MWITA @MwitaMartin

The Min­istry of Trans­port and In­fra­struc­ture yes­ter­day de­fended the planned in­tro­duc­tion of user fees on ma­jor high­ways, a de­vel­op­ment which will see mo­torists pay dou­ble levies.

Mo­torists pay Sh38.41 fixed taxes and levies to the gov­ern­ment for ev­ery litre of petrol they buy.

The taxes in­clude Sh18 for the Road Main­te­nance Levy, Sh19.89 (ex­cise duty), Sh0.40 for the petroleum de­vel­op­ment levy and Sh0.12 goes to petroleum reg­u­la­tory levy.

In­fra­struc­ture PS John Mosonik, how­ever, said roads re­quire about Sh140 bil­lion an­nu­ally for main­te­nance against an av­er­age of about Sh50 bil­lion raised from fuel levy ev­ery year. The funds, he said, are not enough to main­tain roads across the coun­try.

“There has been a de­bate that if fuel levy can finance this, the an­swer is no. The to­tal rev­enue com­ing from fuel levy is about Sh50 bil­lion and that one is strictly for main­te­nance. If you look at the net­work that we have to­day all over Kenya, it is about 161,000 kilo­me­tres,” he said.

He in­sisted mo­torists will from next year have to dig deeper into their pock­ets.

Mosonik said there are no plans to shelve the fuel levy which was in­creased from Sh12 to Sh18 in the cur­rent fi­nan­cial year, say­ing the two will run con­cur­rently.

The first toll sta­tion is ex­pected on Thika su­per­high­way and South­ern by­pass as early as next year.

“Within one or two years we should be able to put in place be­cause the road is al­ready in place. So it is ac­tu­ally about putting up the tolling fa­cil­i­ties. We as­sure you we are go­ing to bring the lat­est tech­nol­ogy,” Mosonik said dur­ing the on­go­ing Kenya Pub­lic-Pri­vate-Part­ner­ship roads in­vestor con­fer­ence in Nairobi.

“We have been dis­cussing this thing for the last three years, but you have seen the re­al­ity com­ing on board right now,” he said.

Mom­basa-Nairobi high­way will have two sta­tions; in Mari­akani and at the Machakos turn-off, while the Nairobi-Nakuru high­way will have three, at Rironi (Limuru), Naivasha and Lanet.

The en­tire project, Mosonik said, will be fully op­er­a­tional in five years.

He said the gov­ern­ment is putting in place poli­cies to guide the process, in­clud­ing tar­iffs to be used.

“Within three to four weeks it (pol­icy) should be able to have been fi­nalised,” the PS said.

Roads with toll sta­tions will not ben­e­fit from the road main­te­nance levy, Kenya National High­ways Au­thor­ity Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Peter Mun­dinia said.

The toll sta­tions will be build and op­er­ated by pri­vate innestors who will chan­nel the funds to a toll fund to be man­aged by the Trea­sury.

Kenyans also pay 1.5 per cent of the cost, In­sur­ance and Freight of car im­ports to the road de­vel­op­ment levy.

The gov­ern­ment is col­lect­ing Sh38.41 for ev­ery litre of petrol sold, from which Sh18 goes to the fuel levy man­aged by the Kenya Roads Board.

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