General News of Thursday, 4 September 2014
The Minister for Roads and Highways, Inussah Fuseini, has conceded criticisms that funds meant for road maintenance are being diverted and misapplied.
He however explains that the money accruing to the Road Fund has not been used strictly for repairing the country's broken roads because of undue pressure on the fund managers.
A member of the Ghana Road Fund Management Board, Prof. Mohammed Salifu, recently accused government of failing to release funds for repair works on many of the country’s deteriorating roads, a clear contravention of provisions of the law establishing the Fund, Act 563.
Government, he said, has rather opted to use the money accruing to the Road Fund to construct new roads while existing road networks are left to deteriorate, causing discomfort to commuters.
Prof. Salifu feared the state of the country's already bad road networks could further worsen if the sector does not receive the needed attention in the next three to four years.
Speaking on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, Thursday, Alhaji Inussah Fuseini admitted to flouting the provisions of the law.
“That was clearly a misappropriation of the Fund, and we went contrary to the provisions of the law in the Act 536,” the Minister acknowledged.
He added: “The road fund is used to maintain, repair and do road safety activities and others.”
He, however said managers of the Fund were forced to expend the money on projects that were not captured by the law.
“It is the pressure from people in higher offices that compels the administrators of the road fund to apply it to matters that were not anticipated by the law.
“When people come with their legitimate concerns, [that] sometimes force the administrators of the Fund to apply these resources even though not anticipated by the law to doing those roads," he stated.
To address the problem, Alhaji Fuseini disclosed that managers of the Road Fund Board have resolved to focus on the Fund's core mandate of repairing roads while central government looks for financial resources to fund construction of new road projects.
This, he noted yielded some positive results last year as about 75% of money accrued to the Fund was disbursed to undertake maintenance activities and repair works on roads across the country.
“The Road Fund Board Took a decision that we better concentrate on what the law says we should do and look for money elsewhere…to do roads in other areas.
“When we collect the resources [money] it’s put in one basket and then applied to the maintenance activities and repair works on roads,” he said.