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Relief as government suspends highway tolls

Motorists using major highways can now breathe easy after the Ministry of Transport Thursday announced the suspension of plans to implement toll stations.

However, the Cabinet secretary James Macharia said the tolls proposal is yet to be adopted urging that erected billboards be removed.

Billboards announcing the tolls had been erected on highways prompting discussions on social media platforms.

“The attention of the ministry is drawn to recent media coverage on proposed tolling of some key roads in the country. This was occasioned by the erection of billboards along the Nairobi Southern bypass announcing road tolls were to be introduced soon on the road,” read the statement in part.

Mr Macharia added that the partners’ “premature action” has the potential of tainting “an otherwise noble and strategic” infrastructure development program, which aims at raising more resources for accelerated modernization in the country.

BILLBOARDS

“The ministry has directed the various implementing partners to remove the said billboards pending conclusion of the infrastructure funding policy study, review and adoption of the same as well as wide consultations on all key stakeholders along the said roads,” he said.

The minister admitted that the proposal was made but is yet to be implemented pending a study that ought to be conducted before roll out.

“Whereas the government has proposed to develop and maintain some roads in the country through road tolls, the said billboards were premature and unauthorized, as the government is yet to adopt an elaborate policy on road tolling,” said Mr Macharia.

Plans by the government to introduce toll stations to raise funds was opposed stiffly as the consumer federation said the charge which has always been levied has not been used to maintain the quality of roads.

“We have been paying all along but how has the money been used? It is insincere for Kenyans to be asked to pay for shoddy road repairs under the watch of the very authorities asking for more funds. We will be demanding to see where these funds ended up previously,” Cofek secretary general Stephen Mutoro told the Nation during a past interview.