The Chief Executive Officer of the Road Fund Administration has called on the public to remain calm amid the rising panic, as plans to introduce toll gates along 23 road sections in Namibia will force motorists to dig deeper into their pockets.
Ali Ipinge, instead, says Namibia stands to earn up to N$750 million in yearly earnings to upgrade and maintain its prestigious roads using toll gates, which he insists are common across Africa, Europe, and large parts of Asia.
Ipinge, when quizzed about when toll gates will be operational in Namibia, refused to commit to any specific timeline before all procedures are finalised.
He says Namibia and Botswana remain the only countries in the sub-region without toll gates, emphasising that these are firmly on the road fund's agenda.
Ipinge says consultations with industry players and the public at large on the benefits and implications of a tolling system, including the cost of setting up infrastructure, motorist charges and possible sites where toll gates could be erected, have begun.
Meanwhile, Ipinge says Namibia will refrain from considering the controversial concept of e-tolls, which has aroused discontent in neighbouring South Africa.
Ipinge adds that funds have been made available to rehabilitate roads whose lifespan has surpassed 15 years, including sections between Mariental and Keetmanshoop, Karibib and Omaruru, Rundu and Divundu, and Eenhuno and Eenhana, and rehabilitate roads in the Etosha National Park.
On his part, the President of the Namibia Association of Local Authority Officers, Moses Matyayi, urged the RFA to reassess its funding model related to municipalities, saying maintenance has proven costly due to the frequent use of urban roads.
The meeting attracted members of law enforcement, representatives of the Roads Authority and other industry experts, all with the aim of digesting the surrounding facts and drafting a roadmap towards the future of sustainable road administration.
In a media statement, PDM indicated that the toll gate dream should be vehemently rejected, saying the introduction of toll gates in Namibia will only overburden transport users.
The PDM intensely rejects the idea, arguing that it is an exploitation of the people that are already struggling to make ends meet.
It urged the Cabinet to abort its introduction and instead find viable solutions for funding and maintaining the road infrastructure in the country.