Decap Road Fund to shore up revenue – Parliament’s Ranking on Roads says
“there was no reason to cancel the road toll they did it out of populist and propaganda, because even if the accrual was small, we are a country that even GHc72m, could do something. We were against that and now that they have decided to bring it back in the budget, we welcome that and we have a bigger concern.”
The Ranking Member of Parliament’s Roads and Transport Committee, Kwame Governs Agbodza has urged government to remove the capping on road fund in the 2023 budget and rather use part of the monies earmarked for the road sector to defray the indebtedness of road contractors.
Toll charges on public roads were removed as part of supportive policy measures under the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government. The fiscal policy measures to underpin the 2023 Budget for consideration and approval by Parliament include reintroduction of tolls on selected public roads and highways, with a renewed focus on leveraging technology in the collection to address the inefficiencies characterized by the previous toll collection regime.
The government explained at the time it cancelled the road toll was that it meant to enhance productivity and reduce environmental pollution, as well as reduce the heavy traffic that road tolls are found to cause nationwide.
But the finance minister in presenting the budget last week, announced the return of the road toll as part of government’s revenue measures on selected roads in the 2023 budget.
Contributing to the budget debate on Wednesday, on the floor of the House, the ranking on Roads and Transport, whilst welcoming the development, said the government was populist in cancelling the toll in the first place.
According to Hon. Agbodza, “there was no reason to cancel the road toll they did it out of populist and propaganda, because even if the accrual was small, we are a country that even GHc72m, could do something. We were against that and now that they have decided to bring it back in the budget, we welcome that and we have a bigger concern.”
Further he said, “if you check the 2023 budget the road fund alone will generate about GHc2.5bn but out of that only 1bn will be given to the roads ministry to do road projects, I believe that when Ghanaians pay money to the road fund, they expect all that monies to do road, when you check the same budget, GETFUND will generate GHc4.6bn, they will give only about GHc1.9bn to GETFUND, the NHIS will generate GHc4.6bn, they will give them GHc2.5bn
But for this idea of capping, so you want money for something but you won’t tell the truth, but you will take the money and do something else, for us to be able to convince ourselves that we are representing our people and support the reintroduction of the road fund, we expect that the capping on the road fund must be removed because as we speak the ministry of roads owes contractors almost GHc12bn , so if we contribute money, it is not even enough, let’s use the entire 2.5bn to defray the indebtedness” he told Business24 in an interview.” he said in an interview.
Give locals more contracts
On the issue of the motorway, he called on government to involve more locals in road contraction rather than giving them subcontracts.
“They have admitted that the so called contract with Mota Angels is null and void, they are thinking of coming up with another strategy and I will keep insisting that the strategy must include local participation, don’t make Ghanaian contractors appendages, that a foreigner will come and win the job and sub contract to a local contractors.
The Ofankor to Nsawam stretch is a local contractor, if they are able to do that, they will get our support.”