Maputo Ring Road losing 2 million meticais per day

The Mozambican public company Maputo-Sul, which operates the Maputo Ring Road, is losing around two million meticais (US$ 33,300) a day because of its failure to install the promised toll gates along the road, according to a report by the independent television station STV.

The 74 kilometre long ring road, built with a US$300 million loan from China, came into operation two years ago, and since then motorists have been using what is the most modern road in the country without paying a cent.

Maputo-Sul admits that four toll gates should have been installed in 2016. None at all have been set up. From the time they should have been installed up until now, the total loss is put at 788 million meticais.

"We had some difficulties, above all financial difficulties", Maputo-Sul chairperson Silva Magaia told STV. "When the plan for toll gates was first drawn up, the financial situation of the country was different from what it is now".

Tolls are needed, not only to repay the Chinese loan, but also to ensure maintenance of the ring road.

"The road is new. It doesn't have many problems except the accumulation of sand along the coastal stretch", said Magaia. "But we shall soon need more money to guarantee the maintenance and longevity of the road".

Maputo-Sul is looking to the solution of farming out the construction and management of the toll gates to a private company. Magaia said the contract will last for 10 years, and Maputo-Sul will be a partner in operating the toll gates.

"We think it's possible to have the toll gates ready in the next six months", said Magaia. "If we can finalise the understandings in February, we can ensure the conclusion of the first two gates".

Accidents have been occurring on the ring road, in which several lampposts have been knocked down. Each post costs over US$3,100 to replace. Magaia said the money for such costs ought to come from the tolls.