THE Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) will begin rolling out e-tolling before the end of the year to improve efficiency, motorists’ convenience and reduce operational costs.

E-tolling is a cashless system that allows road users to make payments for road use with card facilities or e-tags at toll gates, with payments being made without vehicles having to stop.

The process does not require physical toll booths on the highways and the first pilot project is expected to run before the end of June this year.

Plans are also afoot to upgrade three tollgates to toll plazas as the Second Republic moves to ease congestion and boost revenue collection.

Giving an update on disbursement of funds in Harare yesterday, Zinara board chairman Dr George Manyaya said preparations for the roll out of e-tolling had moved a gear up.

“The recent coming into effect of SI 5 of 2023 which allows Zinara to upgrade and maintain tolling infrastructure as well as the environs is highly appreciated as it empowers the administration to effectively create a conducive business environment for its operations and now you can probe Zinara if you see potholes at tollgates.

“The tender for e-tolling closed this month. This will see us rolling out e-tolling before year end and this modernisation effort will streamline toll collection, reduce waiting times and provide a more convenient and seamless experience for motorists.

“This is highly appreciated as it empowers the administration to effectively create a conducive business environment for its operations.”

For the year ended December 31, 2023, Zinara collected $868 billion against a revised budget of $768 billion.

“As we continue to fund these key road projects, I urge our esteemed councils or rather road authorities to uphold the highest standards of quality,” Dr Manyaya said.

“The works we deliver must be durable, reflecting the trust and investment of the Zimbabwean people. As you may be aware, the country suffered a significant road infrastructure maintenance gap which, as the new Zinara board, we are working flat out to ensure that we recover from in the not-so-distant future.

“We are therefore cognisant that the money that we collect and disburse for the core purposes of road maintenance may not be adequate for the job at hand.”

Zinara chief executive officer Mr Nkosinathi Ncube said they will be undertaking extensive works to improve tolling infrastructure.

“We are at an advanced stage in the e-tolling project and we expect to have the pilot project running before the end of the first half of the year.

“This will also include the upgrading of six tolling sites from the current structures to toll plazas.

“With the introduction of the new toll fees structure, we are looking forward to improved revenue inflows which will aid in ensuring that we are better placed to fund the various projects across the country,” he said.

Mr Ncube also allayed fears that many people might lose their jobs saying they were going to have a hybrid system that will allow the current workers to remain at their places of employment.

The system debits the accounts of registered car owners or identifies the license plate for later billing, without requiring vehicles to stop.