The Ghana Road Fund has been pushing for an increase in the road toll to address its growing indebtedness and low funding for its activities.
The Fund owes contractors more than GH¢700million. The Fund has also procured two loans from SSNIT – GH¢109million and an additional GH¢85million which have accrued an interest of GH¢323million.
The 2015 budgetary allocation for the Fund is GH¢215million cedis, less than half of its debt.
In a memo addressed to parliamentary select committee on transport, the Ghana Road Fund says it faces collapse if serious and immediate steps are not taken, Joy News Parliamentary correspondent Elton John Brobbey has cited.
The Fund which is a creature of Act of Parliament, Act 537(1997), is eyeing a levy on petroleum products to shore up its funds.
“…immediately the prices of fuel products go high, the percentage that they will also take will also be very high,” Chairman of the Roads and Transport Committee of Parliament, Theophilus Tetteh Chaie told Joy News.
Currently, the Road Fund has to go to Parliament for approval in toll increases. The MP for Ablekuma Central said the levy on petroluem prices will eliminate the need for authorities of the Fund to come to parliament and argue for an increase in the road tolls.
The Committee supports the proposal submitted by the Road Fund and is considering the appropriate increase in the toll.
As at 2014, there were about 38 toll stations in Ghana including the Ada and Senchi Ferry stations. There are three categories of vehicles that ply the Tema motorway namely commercial vehicles (trotro), private vehicles and big trucks. Commercial vehicles (trotro) and 4x4s are charged GH₵ 1.00, while big trucks are charged GH₵ 2.00.
Photo: Tema Motorway
Cabinet has reportedly okayed an increase in road tolls to pay the cost of maintenance of the roads.
“We are going to increase the tolls. As for the tolls we have even worked with the Ministry of Finance and in due course you will hear that,” Roads and Highways Minister, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini told Today newspaper in August 2015.
The Minister revealed that the tolls contribute 10% to the Road Fund, a percentage he deemed inadequate.
The Association of Road Contractors (ASOROC) has been pushing for an increase saying Ghana’s tolls is the lowest in the sub-region. Motorists in Togo pay about CF400 (about 1US Dollars or 100 cents).
President of the ASOROC, Mr. Ebo Hewton has said that government has been in arrears for the past two years now.
The management of the road fund has not been without questions. A report published by the Auditor General’s Department in 2013, revealed massive corruption in the administration of the road fund.