PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu is elated that Zambians these days spend less time on the road, for they have more choices of routes to use.
“And [they are] spending less money on the maintenance of their vehicles and fuel,” President Lungu said when he opened Parliament last Friday.
“More importantly, they are able to attend to more productive ventures in a single day. Our farmers are now transporting their produce to markets easily, cheaply and quickly.”
He praised Zambia’s road infrastructure, saying it was opening up the country by connecting the outlying areas, including key tourism attractions in all the 10 provinces.
President Lungu said the road infrastructure has also linked Zambia to all her neighbouring countries, resulting in easy accessibility and the creation of economic opportunities for Zambians, including jobs.
Further, the President said, the road infrastructure is opening up Zambia’s towns and cities and improving the flow of traffic.
On the upgrading of the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka, President Lungu said works to turn the airport into an ultra-modern facility now stood at 90 per cent, compared to 84 per cent reported last year.
“Once completed, the airport will have the capacity to handle traffic of six million people per annum, up from two million people per annum,” he noted.
“With regard to the Copperbelt International Airport, works are now at 76 per cent compared to the 43 per cent reported last year.”
Meanwhile, President Lungu said a resilient national road tolling programme had transformed Zambia into a beacon of learning within a short period, “drawing attention from the region and beyond, as road funds look for sustainable solutions to road financing.”
The Head of State told Parliament that the government had so far rolled out the tolling programme across the country, with 34 tolling points consisting of 21 toll stations, three weighbridges and 10 ports of entry.
“Since inception, a total of K4.8 billion has been collected in toll revenue. However, owing to COVID-19, which has seen a reduction in traffic volumes, government projects an end year collection under-performing,” said President Lungu.
“Government has put in measures to improve the collection performance, which measures are expected to result in an overall toll revenue collection of K1.4 billion against a budgeted collection of K1.6 billion.”
©Kalemba September 14, 2020