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Cash Strapped Harare Government Sets Highway Tolls To Raise Revenues

Strapped for cash, Zimbabwe's government is setting up toll gates around Harare to boost revenues. Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa said last month that some Z$3.2 billion in additional income was needed to cover his supplementary budget, and cited roadway tolls as one viable approach. Transport Minister Christopher Mushowe said tolls will be exacted between the capital and Chitungwiza, Norton and Ruwa.

But economists warned that highway tolls will increase the already heavy tax burden on workers who commute to the capital from the surrounding region. The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions commented that its members are ready to tackle the government over the new tolls, which stand to further erode their income.

The parliamentary committee on transport has also expressed concern.

Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe asked committee chairman Leo Mugabe - member for Makonde and nephew of President Robert Mugabe - for his thoughts on the proposal to turn Zimbabwe's highways into turnpikes.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions President Lovemore Matombo said workers are mobilizing to confront the Harare government over the unpopular plan.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...