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January 18, 2015

Motorcyclists spared toll tax on Hyd-Mirpurkhas Road


January 18, 2015

The Sindh government has issued revised toll tax rates for using the newly-built Hyderabad-Mirpurkhas Road under its renewed public-private partnership policy, notably allowing an exemption for motorcyclists - simply because the contractors cannot chase them.
“Motorcycles have been exempted from the revised toll charges for the road as the private contractor engaged in the process has requested us that it is difficult to stop or chase motorcyclists for the payment of the tax,” works and services department secretary Qazi Shahid Pervez said on Saturday.
“Similarly, Qingqi rickshaws will be exempted from the toll charges as they are also considered a modified form of a motorcycle,” he added.
Under the revised toll rates, tractors will be charged Rs50, trucks of different axles Rs140, tractor trolleys/three-axle trucks Rs175, large buses Rs175, mini-buses Rs140, cars Rs50, articulated four-, five-, and six-axle trucks Rs220 and two-axle trucks Rs175 for a single trip.
The secretary said the issue of toll charges for motorcycles had been discussed at a recent meeting of the public-private partnership policy board, chaired by the chief minister. It was decided that motorcyclists would be exempted from paying toll tax for using new roads being built under the public-private partnership.
He said the revised toll tax rates had been notified for the Hyderabad-Mirpurkhas Road as per the earlier commitment with the private contractor that charges would be raised for inflationary adjustment.
“On an average, between 20 percent and 25 percent charges have been increased for different sorts of vehicles,” he added
Apart from motorcycles, the new notification also exempts vehicles bearing armed forces’ number plates and emergency vehicles including ambulances, fire tenders, and coffin carriers.
The notification was issued exercising the powers conferred by Section 3 of the West Pakistan Tolls on Roads and Bridges Ordinance

1962 and the Sindh Public Private Partnership Act-2010.
Then Hyderabad-Mirpurkhas dual carriageway, inaugurated in March 2013 by then president Asif Ali Zardari, was built under the public-private partnership mode on a DFBOT (design, finance, built, operate and transfer) basis by a Korean firm which was selected as the private partner through a bidding process.
The concession agreement for the project was signed between the Sindh government and the private firm on November 11, 2009 and the road was constructed by August 2012.
The road is 60km long with eight bridges and 62 culverts. The developer will operate and maintain the road for 30 years after its construction before returning it to government.
The socio-economic benefits of the project are far-reaching. Studies suggest that the project will create 5,000 direct job opportunities and 22,000 indirect ones, besides complementing the agro-based economic activities of the region and other small- and medium-sized enterprises.
The project will also contribute towards swift communication between Karachi and the Thar coalfields.
The project is also expected to generate around Rs30 billion in various taxes and rates over the concession period.
The project was financed through a mixture of private party’s equity (30 percent), the Sindh government’s sub-debt (30 percent) and the commercial bank debt (40 percent).
Additionally, the provincial government has also made a minimum revenue guarantee of 10 percent of the projected revenue for the bank debt repayment period.
The minimum revenue guarantee is in the form of a soft loan that will be paid back after the commercial debts’ repayment.

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