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To Boost Revenues Zimbabwe Hikes Traffic Fines

The government says it is embarking on a program to create four-lane roads as the current infrastructure has become dangerous after years of neglect.

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Zimbabwe, traffic
Zimbabwe’s roads have become chaotic after years of neglect as motorists try to look for smoother venues for their vehicles, in Harare, Dec. 31, 2018. VOA

Motorists in Zimbabwe are ringing in the new year by toasting — or cursing — increased traffic fines which are expected to raise needed revenue by the cash-strapped government and reduce car accidents.

Come Jan. 1, if motorists break a traffic law, they will pay as much as $700 for offenses such as speeding, drinking and driving, overloading their vehicle, or driving without a license. The previous maximum penalty was just $30.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government says the move, besides raising revenue, will reduce fatalities on the roads. But Stanford Chigwedere, a public transport driver, says he is against the idea because casualties on Zimbabwe’s roads are not caused by bad driving alone.

“Roads in Zimbabwe are now useless. They want to fine us; we pay tax but they are doing nothing,” Chigwedere said. “Now they are increasing fines to as much as $700, where will that money go to? All roads are full of potholes. We are giving them lots of money. We are not causing deaths or accidents on the roads; it is the police chasing motorists that cause accidents because we will be on these bad roads.”

Critics say the move is a desperate measure to squeeze money from an already overburdened citizenry.

Clever Mundau says he is for the new traffic fines being introduced by the government.

“I think the responsible authority have views, maybe they want the roads to be OK.” Mundau said. “So they are going to make sure that the roads are OK. So let’s just give them time.”

Zimbabwe, traffic
Obio Chinyere, managing director of the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe, says major causes of road accidents include speeding and lack of discipline. VOA

According to the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe, major causes of road accidents include speeding and lack of discipline. Obio Chinyere, the head of the government agency, says fines by themselves will not work.

“It is not only the fines when you look at the road safety, there are other instruments we can actually use, yes, the fines, but you also have to bring in education, road worthy vehicles,” Chinyere said. “We are saying; yes you can make an error as you drive, if you move out of the road, it shouldn’t be a death sentence, the road should be able to forgive you. Once you leave that road, you are gone.”

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Narrow roads have also been an issue, causing some motorists to swerve and get into accidents.

The government says it is embarking on a program to create four-lane roads as the current infrastructure has become dangerous after years of neglect. (VOA)

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Kenyatta Assents to Division of Revenue Bill 2019, Calls on Counties to Prioritize Settlement of Pending Bills

The new law allocates Sh378.1 billion to county governments for the 2019/20 financial year

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Kenyatta, Division, Revenue
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday afternoon signed into law the Division of Revenue Bill 2019 paving the way for the release of funds to counties. Pixabay

BY GEOFFREY ISAYA

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday afternoon  signed into law the Division of Revenue Bill 2019 paving the way for the release of funds to counties. Kenyatta.

The new law allocates Sh378.1 billion to county governments for the 2019/20 financial year. Out of the total allocation, Sh316.5 billion is the equitable share of national revenue while 61.6 billion are conditional allocations to the devolved units.

The total allocation of Sh378.1 billion to county governments represents 36. 46 percent of the audited and approved revenue of the National Government for the financial year 2018/19 against the constitutional threshold of 15 percent.

The National Treasury has already disbursed over Sh50 billion to counties for the months of July and August.

Kenyatta, Division, Revenue
President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses a gathering of the national budget appropriation committee in Nairobi on Tuesday ,September 17 |PSCU

With the new law in place, the President reiterated  the government’s commitment to scheduled disbursement of funds to counties to enable them to continue delivering services to Kenyans.

He urged county governments to finalize their budget processes which should prioritize settlement of pending payments to suppliers such as the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) for medical supplies to facilitate the delivery of the ongoing Universal Health Coverage (UHC) program.

President Kenyatta further urged county governments to come up with better systems of collecting and managing their own revenue.

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Present during the signing of the Bill on Tuesday were Acting Treasury CS Ukur Yattani, Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa, Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi, Attorney General Paul Kihara Kariuki and Treasury PS Dr Julius Muia among others.