Ghana Road Fund incurs GH¢74.2m debt despite making significant revenue

The Ghana Road Fund has incurred debts amounting to GH¢74.2 million on works executed at the end of 2010 despite a significant increase in the fund from GH¢136 million in 2009 to GH¢182 million in 2010.

The sharp rise in revenue for the fund resulted from the increases in road and bridge tolls, vehicle registration fees, road user fees and international transit fees thus prompting a projected target of GH¢185 million for this year.

Mr Joe Gidisu, Minister of Roads and Highways, gave these figures in a speech read on his behalf at a public forum at Wa “On Financing Road Maintenance” organized by the Road Fund Board under the auspices of the ministry.

The forum, apart from providing a platform to explain the motives for collection of tolls and levies into the fund, also gave an opportunity for road users and the public to express their views regarding the road fund and the road sector in meeting their expectations.

Mr Gidisu noted that the fund could meet only 60 per cent of the country’s road maintenance needs, which implied that 40 per cent of the road network, was often unattended to.

“The cumulative effect of this backlog over a period of time can have adverse consequences on the road assets with its associated cost as delays in undertaking maintenance will put the roads into a state of disrepair which in the end will cost eight times the cost of maintenance”.

He attributed the high road maintenance deficit to what appeared to be the desire of the implementing agencies to meet their planned programmes without recourse to the availability of funds to meet them.

The burden of road maintenance should be a shared responsibility between the government and the road users, he indicated.

Alhaji Issahaku Saliah, Upper West Regional Minister, bemoaned the deplorable condition of most roads in the region to the extent that most areas were often cut off during the rainy season.

He stated that out of the 4,379 kilometres of roads in the region as at the end of 2010, none was asphalted while 156 had bituminous surfacing and 797 gravel surfacing.

Any poverty reduction strategy in the region, he said should include the availability of good feeder roads network to feed the highways in the movement of goods and services through out the region.

Source: GNA

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