Road Fund can sustain only 60% of road maintenance needs – Minister

Road1The Deputy Minister for Roads and Highways, Mr. Isaac Adjei-Mensah, has announced that the Road Fund can sustain only 60 per cent of the country’s road maintenance needs.

He said this implied that 40 per cent of the road network would be left unattended to in a year and the accumulated effect of this backlog over a period of time constituted a huge financial burden on the government.

Therefore, he said the Fund, which was mandated to finance routine and periodic maintenance of roads, carried forward an indebtedness of GH¢230.86 million from last year.

Mr Adjei-Mensah, consequently, entreated Ghanaians to support and cooperate with the Road Fund Management Board and the Government to halt the deteriorating road conditions by ensuring regular and prompt payment of levies and fees into the Road Fund.

Mr. Isaac Adjei-Mensah, who is the Member of Parliament for Wassa East, made the call at a public forum held in Takoradi, on Thursday.

The forum, which was held on the theme, “Financing of Road Maintenance”, was aimed at sensitizing Ghanaians and all stakeholders on the role of the Road Fund in the financing of road maintenance works in the country.

The event also provided a platform for members of the Road Fund Management Board to explain the rationale for collecting tolls and levies into the Fund and to solicit public support and cooperation.

The Minister announced that GH¢322.21 million had been projected to be accrued into the Fund this year, which would facilitate road maintenance works under agencies that depended on the Fund to undertake their programmes and activities.

“It is, therefore, becoming increasingly clear that road users must have to directly or indirectly contribute to the cost of road maintenance,” he said.

“The burden of road maintenance must become a shared responsibility between the government who builds the roads and the road user who benefits from the access being created,” he emphasised.

Touching on some positive strides made by the Road Fund over the years, Mr. Adjei-Mensah, said it had engendered 20% increase in trips to hospitals as a result of increased access, 65% lowering of costs of travel to market centres, and 41% reduction in costs of travel to welfare facilities.

Other benefits include 23% increase in the price of maize received by farmers, thereby, empowering them financially.

There was also a 44% reduction in travel time as a result of the use of motorized transport, he said.

The Deputy Minister observed that although the cost of road construction and its, subsequent, regular maintenance required a huge financial outlay, the Ministry had maintained clear focus on its core functions, by protecting the huge investment made by the Government in the provision of road infrastructure.

He, however, said, the level of investment required for road maintenance could not be met entirely from the country’s annual budgetary funding unless it received support from its development partners.

It was, therefore, encouraging, he said, that the revenue accruing to the Fund had consistently increased from GH¢24.8 million in 2000 to GH¢265. 04 million in 2014.

The relatively significant increase was due to increase in road tolls, vehicle registration fees, road user fees, bridge tolls and international transit fees, he explained.

The Road Fund was established by the Act of Parliament, Act 536 in 1997, to collect fuel levies, fees, road tolls, bridge tolls, and international transit fees, and revenue accrued to the Fund would be used exclusively for routine and periodic maintenance of road projects across the country.

Source: GNA

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