The Road Fund Administration (RFA), which collects funds from the country’s Road User Charging System, reached a symbolic milestone when it collected over N$2 billion during the 2015/26 financial year, representing an increase of 18 percent compared to the previous year. Of the N$2.1 billion collected, the fund invested N$1.84 billion in maintaining and upgrading the country’s road network. The RFA collects user charges from fuel levies, vehicle registration and annual licence fees, mass distance charges, cross-border charges and permits, abnormal load fees and domestic road user permits.
“It was a major milestone to surpass the N$2 billion mark and we look forward to passing the N$3 billion mark,” said RFA chairman Penda Ithindi yesterday during the fund’s annual stakeholder consultation for their 2017 to 2022 business plan.
RFA’s revenue projections for 2011 to 2015 averaged some N$1.5 billion per annum from road user charges. The current business plan, 2015 to 2020, projects total funding of N$9.1 billion (or an average of N$1.8 billion per annum) to manage the national road network. Total revenue raised by the fund by way of road user charges accelerated from N$1.4 billion in 2012/2013 to N$1.6 billion in 2013/2014. This resulted in an increase of 15 percent year-on-year. These increases resulted in additional control and monitoring measures, particularly at cross-border charge offices as well as from an increase in economic activities.
Of the revenue collected by the RFA, 80 percent is channelled to the Roads Authority for the management of the national road network. Other approved funding recipients include local authorities, the police, the National Road Safety Council and the RFA itself.
The RFA annually presents and consults with key stakeholders on its draft Five-Year Rolling Business Plan. This consultation presents stakeholders with the opportunity to engage the RFA on its proposed expenditure on the national road network and related matters and affords stakeholders an opportunity to ensure that all funds collected are allocated in an effective and efficient manner for the benefit of all road users.
“This meeting is essential to garner views of key stakeholders and to ensure funds are allocated to approved programmes for the upkeep of the national road infrastructure,” said RFA’s chief executive officer Ali Ipinge.
A local business newspaper, The Namibia Economist, recently reported that Transport Knowledge Resource Centre ranked Namibia first among twenty African states, with Tanzania and Kenya coming in second and third, as countries with a 100 percent score on the overall performance assessment of national road funds. According to the report, despite the potential of fuel taxation, many countries instead opt to subsidise fuel,which was deemed a practice which is difficult to escape from later. “Angola, for instance, is going through a painful fuel subsidy adjustment following years of heavily subsidising fuel in their domestic market,” the Namibia Economist commented.