An artist's impression of the suspended JKIA-James Gichuru expressway. Kenyans could soon start paying tolls for using Kenyan roads. www.businesstoday.co.ke
An artist's impression of the suspended JKIA-James Gichuru expressway. Kenyans could soon be facing an imposition of toll fees on major Kenyan roads. [Photo/FILE]

Do you like road trips on Kenyan roads? Well, if you do, then you could just be the one to help the government collect more taxes as it seeks to honour its financial obligations.

In addition to the highly expensive Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) – James Gichuru expressway, Kenyans may have to be spending more to use a network of Kenyan roads.

Already, the controversial expressway has been estimated to cost drivers Ksh155 to use as per the government’s agreement with the contractor. This money is to help the contractor recoup their costs for the road that will cost more than Sh2 billion per kilometre to construct.

Road Tolls Law

The total cost of the project is Sh 59 billion having been revised downwards from the initial projection of Sh62 billion. The extra cost was due to an “additional set of works”.

And now, the government targets to raid Kenyans’ pockets once again to raise funds on roads already financed from the fuel levy.

Read: The Cost of Doing Business Becoming Unbearable

The government is planning a new law to be effected in July where road toll fees will be introduced for using the country’s highways.

Already, Parliament has directed Treasury and the Ministry of Transport to table a Bill on establishing a road toll fund guiding the imposition of road toll fees on major Kenyan roads.

MPs, according to Business Daily, want to have approved the legislation before parliament’s long recess in May.

Among the roads where Kenyans will cough up the extra levies include the Southern Bypass in Nairobi, Nairobi-Thika, Nairobi-Mombasa and Nairobi-Nakuru highways.

The daily quoted the National Assembly’s Transport committee chair David Pkosing saying that they were giving the CSs two weeks to table the Bill.

An earlier Bill approved by parliament lapsed in the Senate in 2017 thus the need for the legal framework to the introduction of toll fees.

See: Motorists “Willing” to Pay Chinese Company to Use JKIA-James Gichuru Road

The tolling will be based on distance and capacity of the car and if it goes through, motorists will pay the charges on top of the fuel levy which is factored in when buying fuel from petrol stations.

Tolls on the roads were introduced in the late 1980s but were scrapped to pave way for the maintenance and fuel levies.

Currently, the levies take up Sh18 per litre of petrol or diesel purchased.

Last year, the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) approved new toll charges for the Nairobi-Nakuru-Mau Summit road effectively putting Kenya at the apex of countries charging citizens the highest toll charges in Africa.

Trucks will be charged Sh30 per kilometre while small private vehicles will be charged Ksh6 per kilometre which means that the motorists could pay between Ksh1,458 and Ksh7,290 depending on the distance covered.

The Nairobi- Nakuru-Mau Summit road is part of the Northern Corridor and among the anchor roads in the country with significant value to local businessmen, cargo transporters as well as importers and exporters with business interests in the country.

For road trip enthusiasts, the extra charges could be an unwelcome dent on their pockets making it hard to use the roads.

Kenya’s Most Expensive Infrastructure Projects

The 27.2-kilometre JKIA – James Gichuru expressway road is among Kenya’s most expensive infrastructure projects.

It is being constructed by the China Road & Bridge Corporation (CRBC) but it is continually facing opposition as a project meant for the elite.

It is ranked with the SGR, JKIA expansion and other projects that have gobbled billions from taxpayers.

Read >> Police move to end corruption on Kenyan roads

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