Maputo — The Mozambican authorities will shortly lease five sections of major roads to private operators, reports Wednesday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias".
The roads concerned are two stretches of the main north-south highway (EN1), from Marracuene to Xai-Xai in the south and from Nampula to Metoro in the north, the two roads to eSwatini (formerly Swaziland), from the southern city of Matola to Namaacha and from Impaputo to Goba, and the road from the northern port of Nacala to Namialo. Taken together these roads have a length of 697 kilometres.
The National Roads Administration (ANE) has launched a public tender to select operators for these roads. Those who win the tenders will then sign contracts with the ANE to manage the roads for the next 30 years.
To pay for the maintenance and rehabilitation involved, the companies will levy tolls on vehicles using the roads.
So far, only one major road in the country, the Maputo-South Africa motorway (EN4), charges the users tolls. This road is operated by the South African company, Trans-African Concessions (TRAC), which has a contract with the government lasting until 2027.
For many years, the Mozambican government has insisted that those who use the roads should also pay for them. Yet no new toll-gates have been introduced, even on the recently built Maputo Ring Road.
The "user pays" principle is supposed to raise the money to guarantee road maintenance. The ANE is responsible for almost the entire national road network, but finds itself without the money needed to ensure appropriate maintenance, leading to the current potholed state of many important roads.