After increasing the prices of petroleum products, hiking up utility prices, increasing the rates of taxes and introducing a raft of new taxes, the John Mahama led National Democratic Congress government is set to increase road tolls paid by motorists by some 200%.
The Minister of Roads and Highways, Alhaji Amidu Sulemana, gave the hint of the imminent road toll increment when he explained that tolls collected from users of the Accra-Tema motorway cannot fund the expansion or rehabilitation of the 19km road.
According to the Roads and Highways Minister, Alhaji Amidu Sulemana, the revenue generated from the tolls will not be enough to rehabilitate the road.
“The tolls cannot rehabilitate the motorway; we are talking about money; we are not talking about the GH¢1 that we take,” he said in radio interview last week.
In view of this, the Minister noted that the only way to ensure that enough revenue was generated for the maintenance of the road was to increase the current level of tolls charged motorists who use the road.
Currently, saloon cars that ply the Tema-Motorway and other major roads across the country are charged 50 pesewas. Prior to the Mills-Mahama NDC government taking over the reins of office in 2009, motorists who used the same road were charged 5 pesewas under the Kufuor-led NPP government.
Alhaji Sulemana stated that estimates as of 2010 revealed that “you will need to charge a saloon car GH¢1.50 as a toll in terms of maintenance or rehabilitation cost”, implying that those estimates as af now would have been thrown out of the window considering the rising cost of goods and services.
The Minister further lamented that the tolls being collected now are woefully inadequate for the rehabilitation of the motorway, reiterating that “Even the toll we collect cannot fix the railings on the bridges on the motorway”, implying that an increment in the tolls was the only way to go.
Alhaji Sulemana, in justifying the need for a price hike, said the tolls collected in the country only contribute about 17 per cent of the road fund.
“The road funds that we use as part of maintenance, all the tolls in the country just contribute about 17 per cent of the road fund revenue,” he said.
Mr Sulemana also revealed that Ghana’s poor maintenance culture is to blame for the bad state of the motorway. He said the Ministry has no maintenance schedule due to lack of funds.
“As a result of luck of resources, the maintenance that we should be doing, we are not doing it that way.”
He said his Ministry was not provided with any funding for rehabilitation works on the highway this year.
Repair work on a huge pothole on a bridge on the Accra-Tema Motorway is causing heavy vehicular traffic on the road. The situation has prompted the Ghana Highway Authority to close part of the bridge to traffic from Tema to Accra. An interim diversion has been created near the bridge, which is close to the Old Abattoir.
Road Tolls Analysis