University of Ghana defends road tolls
In spite of calls by the government on the authorities of the University of Ghana to rescind their decision to collect road tolls on the university campus, it appears the authorities do not have the intention to back down on their stance on the toll collection.
The government, on Monday, advised the university’s management to stop the collection of road tolls.
But the university, in a statement, said following complaints about the introduction of road tolls at the university, the school had introduced measures to reduce traffic congestion leading to the campus.
“To avoid any further inconvenience to motorists entering the university from the Okponglo Intersection, the university management has authorised the opening of another entrance to the university at South Legon, albeit temporarily.
“Motorists seeking to avoid the congestion caused by other motorists who argue over paying the charge may use this alternative access route to the Legon campus,” it said.
The university began the toll collection on February 1, 2014.
The decision has generated a lot of controversy, with the public divided over the collection.
Even though Parliament has put its stamp on the initiative, the government has opposed the payment, with the Chief of Staff advising the university to rescind its decision.
However, making a case for the collection of tolls to offset its GH¢8 million loan for the roads, the statement said reasons for the rehabilitation and introduction of the tolls included the deterioration in the condition of all roads, which had become very costly and unbearable and proved to be a major safety hazard.
“The uncharacteristically heavy traffic slowed down the movement of staff and students considerably within the campus. During peak hours, movement around the campus becomes impeded significantly, thus affecting academic work,” it said.
That aside, it said dust from the Annie Jiagge Road Extension that led from the main campus to the private hostels and Haatso had become a major health hazard for students living in the private hostels.
Explaining the rationale behind the toll collection, the statement said in addition to generating revenue for servicing the GH¢8 million loan for the roads rehabilitation project and generating a steady income stream for the maintenance of roads and other infrastructure into the future, it was also meant to deter drivers with no legitimate business at Legon from entering the campus.
The introduction of the tolls has received a lot of backlash from a section of the public and the students.
Responding to the concerns raised, the statement assured the public that in “pursuing this perfectly legitimate and lawful act, the university will do all it can to minimise any inconvenience that may be caused to the motoring public. Any such inconvenience is regretted”.
”Since the introduction of the user charges, the university community has been mindful of the significant backlash from a section of the community affected in different ways. It is also aware of the even more significant group of Ghanaians who appreciate the enormous difficulties of the university and have sought to encourage management in this undertaking, and in the search for innovative ways of making Legon a better place. Both groups are appreciated by the community,” it added.
The statement also indicated that the current manual mode of collection of the tolls was a temporary one.
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