Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter
PARLIAMENT has recommended to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development that all cars must be inspected yearly at a cost of $50 per unit, as part of the commercialisation of the Vehicle Inspectorate Department meant to raise $126 million annually.
At the moment, inspection for fitness is limited to public service vehicles at a cost of $25 and $20 for heavy and light vehicles respectively, in line with Statutory Instrument 134 of 1998. Private cars are only inspected at VID when they are involved in accidents or when there is suspicion that they have defects.
Although such executive decisions are normally taken by the responsible ministry, parliament through its Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development has recommended the idea. The parliament used its oversight function, which according to the Standing Order of Parliament Category (c) states that the committee shall; “monitor, investigate, inquire into and make recommendations relating to any aspect of the legislative programme, budget, policy or any other matter it may consider relevant to the Government department falling within the category of affairs assigned to it, and may for that purpose consult and liaise with such department.”
In an interview, the chairman of the committee, Cde Dexter Nduna (Zanu-PF, Chegutu West) said this was a gap where Government can raise money.
“As a committee we are proposing that VID must inspect all motor vehicles in Zimbabwe, be they black on yellow plates or red on white plates which are private and public service vehicles. There are approximately 1,5 million vehicles that are on our roads and they have not been inspected, in fact a good number of them have not been inspected with a view of reducing road carnage,” he said.
Cde Nduna said Statutory Instrument 34 of 1998 allows the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development to inspect public service vehicles while another statutory instrument can be put in place that there be a provision to inspect all vehicles to see their road worthiness. He said hence VID could charge as much as $50 for vehicle inspection on all cars.
“If the VID is commercialised, there is going to be $50 levied for all annual inspections for private vehicles, and with the vehicle population in Zimbabwe VID can easily raise revenue to the tune $126 million. It can use $40 million for recapitalisation and declare $60 million to the Government,” he said.
Cde Nduna said the money will add onto the $5 million the department was raising through Learners’ Licence Tests, $6 million from Drivers’ Licence Tests and $25 million from public service vehicle inspections. The move will raise the revenue by 600 percent to $126 million.
However, in an interview, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo said the idea was noble although his Ministry was still to deliberate on the issue.
“I have not received any communication yet but maybe the move is a noble one if done correctly and through the right channels. It should come to Government formerly and be discussed,” he said.
The committee also suggested that there should be computerisation and integration of the transport management systems linking driving schools, VID, Zinara, Zimra, Central Vehicle Registry, Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Republic Police.
“In Government we have moved to have an electronic system whereby VID, Zinara, CVR and Zimra will come as one and officials can be able to check the status of a vehicle at one go, one can check if a vehicle is registered, free of debts with Zinara and even the police can see if there are any offences,” said Cde Gumbo.
Merging of Zinara and VID will see the two organisations leveraging on synergies with quick wins in activities such as enforcement of laws regarding overloading, unlicensed vehicles and drivers, fuel levy, unroadworthy vehicles and garage inspections, to name a few.
Nonetheless, if the proposals see the light of the day, there will be an increase in the number of fees motorists have to pay. At present motorists pay Zinara Vehicle Licensing fees of between $20 and $300 per quarter depending on the weight of the vehicle. To pay for the licensing fees, motorists also need to pay insurance with the cheapest pegged at $36 per quarter. In adddition, they pay the same parastatal between $2 and $10 for tollgates when using the country’s major highways depending on the weight of the vehicle. Motorists also pay a minimum of three cents per litre of fuel they buy levied as Carbon Tax.
Those with car radios are supposed to pay an additional minimum of $10 for radio licence to ZBC per quarter.
Motorists are also mandated to buy triangles, reflectors and fire extinguishers.
There are also plans to introduce tollgates in urban areas to raise money for road repairs and construction.