The Minister of Roads and Highways, Joe Gidisu has disclosed that the Ghana Road Fund is poised to increase its total revenue from GH¢209.4 million in 2011 to GH¢230 million in 2012.
He indicated that the projected revenue for this year would be derived from levies on fuel, fees from registration of vehicles, Road User Fees, road, bridge and ferry tolls as well as International Transit Fees.
He explained that revenue that accrued into the Fund would exclusively be dedicated to routine and periodic maintenance of the country’s road network.
Hon Gidisu made these known in an address read on his behalf at the public forum organized by the Ghana Road Fund Management Board in Takoradi last Thursday.
The forum, which was on the theme, “Financing Road Maintenance” provided the participants with the opportunity to share ideas on how to improve the Ghana Road Fund to become a model.
It is also aimed at assisting the government to address the persistent problem of inadequate financial resources to maintain the country’s total road network.
The Roads and Highways minister noted that the cost of road construction and its subsequent regular maintenance required a huge financial outlay.
“This cannot be met entirely from the country’s annual budgetary provision and support received from our development partners,” he added.
To this end, Hon Gidisu stressed that the burden of road maintenance should be a shared responsibility between the government who constructed the roads and the user who benefited from the access created.
“There is the need to address the shortfall in the financing gap in our road maintenance programme that the Road Fund was passed by Parliament in 1997”, he revealed.
Hon. Gidisu mentioned that the government was exploring other financial methods such as the long term pre-financing to carry out road maintenance.
“Another area of funding which government has been giving serious consideration to is the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) and the Maintain, Operate and Transfer (MOT) concepts of Public, Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements”, he noted.
He therefore urged all road users to support and cooperate with the Road Fund Board to reduce the deterioration of the country’s roads through regular payment of the levies and fees.
During an open forum most of the participants appealed to government to rehabilitate roads in the Western region, particularly those in the northern part, to help farmers to transport their farm produce to the urban centres.
They noted that due to the deplorable nature of the roads, it was difficult for people in the communities in the northern part of the region to transport the sick to seek medical treatment in Sekondi-Takoradi.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi