By Amindeh Blaise Atabong, September 17, 2016
Cameroon Journal, Yaounde – Plans are underway to make revenue collection at tollgates across the country more efficient even though the roads rarely exist. The plan to make collections more efficient is to install automatic paying machines, but this is coming at a higher cost for road users , The Cameroon Journal has learned.
According to sources, tollgate rates that presently stand at 500 FCFA at every post, could be raised by up to five times to 2,500 FCFA. This is because contractors that have been retained, one of whom may eventually be awarded the contract to execute the project, considers the 500 FCFA paid by motorists at tollgates as too small to enable the government raise enough money to maintain the roads on a continuous basis.
Consequently, the waiting contractors are all proposing new charges ranging from 1000 FCFA to 2,500 FCFA as what should be collected at the coming automatic tollgates across the national territory. But the government insists that only 14 tollgates out of the 45 already existing are going to be automated; and it is in the designated fourteen that any agreed new charges would be implemented.
The government, through the Ministry of Public Works, disclosed that the fourteen tollgates to be automated are the ones economic operators consider to be most profitable. Government officials from this ministry further disclosed that the fourteen tollgates to be reconstructed with a mechanized revenue collection system fall within the triangle of Yaounde-Douala-Bafoussam-Yaounde road axis.
But the axes and roads that were finally made public by the government also extend into the South West and South Regions of the country. The public notice indicated that National Road Number 3 that runs from Douala to Tiko, through Mutengene to Limbe would be automated and would attract any agreed new charges.
Similarly, National Road Number 2, that runs from Yaounde through Nsimalen to Mbalmayo would be automated and new tariffs collected. Others are the already known most busy roads in the country like Douala-Edea-Boumnyebel-Mbankomo-Yaounde; the Yaounde-Obala-Bafia-Nkometou-Bayangam-Bangante-Bafoussam; the Douala-Mbanga-Manjo; the Bafoussam-Bafang; among others.
The government has said that the new tollgates would be operated on a Public-Private sector partnership basis which would make it possible for the government to narrow her own profit margin and subsidise the charges to the benefit of citizens.
While road transport unions are expressing worry that the proposed tariffs could send transport fares to record highs, the government is planning to mount campaigns on the new development and how motorists could comport themselves when the new measures take effect so that they do not expose themselves to unnecessary but higher charges.
Government officials insist that should drivers avoid overloading and respect guidelines that would be put in place, there would be no need to increase transport fares when the new tollgate fees come into effect.