Malawi government has succumbed to pressure from motorist and other road users not to affect its newly adjusted fees and fines for road traffic services and offenses.
The Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) recently adjusted by over 200 % t fees and fines for road traffic services and offenses in an attempt to reduce increasing cases of road accidents largely blamed on reckless driving.
Adjusted fees were expected to be with effect from November 13.
However, Malawian reacted angrily to the new arrangement many of them said it was a ply of the ruling DPP government of raising campaign money for the 2019 elections.
Others said the adjusted fines would promote corruption among traffic police officers as many motorists would rather opt to bribe the traffic officer to proceed with journey other than pay huge amount of money to government which in turn will also be corruptly used.
Transport Minister Juppe Mhango confirmed to Nyasa Times on Thursday morning that the government has decided to suspend the adjusted fines “to pave way for more consultations and discussions.”
This comes few days after parliamentary said the adjusted fines were invalid as The Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services did not consult it.
Parliament said DRTSS has “overstepped its mandate” by rushing to announce the new fees and penalties without the approval of the National Assembly.
Road traffic authorities said in earlier a statement that the adjustments were necessitated by an increase in cost of service and materials that the Directorate uses in order to serve the general public efficiently.
“On the other hand, the continued increase in violations of road traffic laws has shown that the current fines and penalties are not deterrent enough hence the increase,” reads a statement.
Malawi has recently seen an increase in road accidents in which many people have died and several others seriously injured. Many them are blamed on reckless driving.
Acting Director for DRTSS, Fergus Gondwe told journalists on Wednesday that most accidents are caused by over speeding, drink and driving, reckless driving, careless overtaking, ignoring traffic signs, fatigue and overloading.
He said last year, 1,112 people were killed from 962 fatal accidents while from January to September 2017, and 1791 people have been killed in 694 fatal accidents.
Gondwe said road accidents costs the country an estimated 1 percent to 3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.
“This is between $47.1 million and $193.5 million annually”.
He added that the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs vetted the changes.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :