A consumers’ lobby has opposed plans mooted by Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) to introduce new road tolling levies.
The Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek), through its chairman Stephen Mutoro (pictured), said in Nairobi that the plan had not undergone proper consultation.
“The exercise is shrouded in mystery. The Government has not engaged in broad stakeholder consultations and in any case, Public Private Partnerships have not been successful in Kenya,” said Mr Mutoro.
He said road tolling amounted to multiple taxation, since motorists already pay for road maintenance through the road levy.
“Again, we don’t believe the root cause of our badly managed roads is purely about insufficient funding. It is about corruption and shoddy workmanship,” Mutoro said. He said such a procurement process as mooted by KeNHA must be above board and in line with the PPP Act, 2010.
“The bid documents must be clear and consultative. This should reflect the actual cost motorists shall pay, if they must, and for how long and for what benefit,” Mutoro said.He noted that it was not clear whether the proposed tolling would be electronic or manual, emphasizing that the method was likely to impact on revenue.
He said that it is likely many motorists shall evade the toll stations and use other roads.“This is likely to bring heavy traffic on other roads and occasion a major road maintenance nightmare,” Mutoro said.
“To force the poor to pay for a road that was built before independence and yet we know they cannot use alternative routes amounts to discrimination and is unconstitutional.” He cautioned KeNHA on its hasty hastily signing of PPPs, including the proposed Mombasa road expansion plan.