KINONDONI Municipal Council failed to reach its target of collecting 2.5bn/- last year, apparently because Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS) had removed the council customers' billboards along the roads which are under the agency.
A report shown to the 'Sunday News' by the Council recently indicates that the revenue collection for the council (2011/12) had dropped drastically to 1.5b/-.
However, sources in the council disclosed that the billboard issue has already been referred to Prime Minister's Office, Regional Administration and Local Government (TAMISEMI) for further deliberations. Sources said that the Permanent Secretary's office was handling the matter.
But the bone of contention lies in the removal of the adverts in question, which the Council officials have said will disrupt them from reaching their future targets, unless Tanroads changes its position.
Reacting to the claims on the adverts and billboards structures removal, Tanroads issued a statement to the 'Sunday News' stating that it already marked X on the billboards which are illegally placed within the road reserve.
Furthermore, the statement said that owners of the billboards are served with notice to remove their structures at their own cost. "Failure to do so, Tanroads removes them at the owners' cost. Marking and removing the billboards is a continuous process.
Therefore, all billboards marked X within the road reserve are immediately removed upon completion of the procedures explained above," said the statement. However, Tanroads said some of the billboards are yet to be removed despite being X-marked.
This is because the owners obtained a court injunction to stop removal of the subject billboards. Hence Tanroads is waiting for ruling of the on-going court case to effect the removal of same. Another clarification stated in the statement that for sometimes, the subject billboards were operating without paying the requisite fees.
Tanroads argues that the reason behind was that when the Government issued a removal notice, the owners filed a court case with the Commission for Fair Competition. It further said that the said case was finally settled amicably with a ruling to maintain status quo by retaining the billboards that were in place while paying charges without erecting new ones until the Regulations and Manual for control of outdoor adverting within the road reserve are in place.
Tanroads said it formed a team of experts that prepared the required Regulations and Manual for control of outdoor advertising within the road reserve. The draft Manual was circulated to the stakeholders for comments and finalisation of same is underway.
The plan is to start using the Manual by July 2013. On the question of billboards especially small ones that have never been paying any revenue, Tanroads maintains that these types of signs are usually not allowed to be placed within the road reserve under their jurisdiction and managed by them. The statement clearly states that whenever such signs are spotted, they are immediately removed.
Over the public outcry that Tanroads is not keeping the public informed, it maintains that it has been giving information to the public through public awareness campaigns at the National and Regional levels and during opening of the road projects. "The information is given to the public during the National Road Safety Week, Nane Nane Week and Public Service Week and through the media.
Also information is given during the Regional Road Boards meetings conducted four times in a year," added the statement. TANROADS is an Executive Agency under the Ministry of Works, established under section 3(1) of the Executive Agencies Act (Cap 245) and came into operation in July, 2000. The Agency is responsible for the maintenance and development of the trunk and regional road network in Tanzania Mainland.