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Regional News of Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Source: Adom News

Demonstrations won’t construct roads - Minister

Roads and Highways Minister Alhaji Amin Amidu Sulemani has said that taking to the streets and holding demonstrations will not construct roads.

“Hitting the streets will not help us, therefore be patient with us,” he said in an interview with the Afia Pokua the Vim Lady on Adom FM/Asempa FM’s Burning Issues.

His remarks come in the wake of pockets of agitations in parts of the country due to bad roads. Examples include Ashaiman, Kenyasi, Ekumfi, Suhum and other places.

Alhaji Sulemani said road construction remains a priority on the agenda of the government but Ghanaians must be patient because “we are in a country of so many demands vis-à-vis resources available.”

The Minister noted that the roads did not deteriorate just in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) era but government is committed to fixing them.

He attributed delay in the rehabilitation of bad roads to lack of funds, but assured that work is ongoing to complete some of the roads soon.

“Even a great nation like the United States of America does not spend its entire budget on road construction and rehabilitation so Ghanaians should not expect the government to dedicate its entire budget to road construction,” he said.

He assured that part of the US$3billion Chinese loan will be used for road construction.

In a related development, the Director of Road Fund Secretariat, Mr. Franklin Agbenator has revealed that Ghana needs GH¢650million annually for road maintenance, but only one-third of that amount is paid into the fund.

“The country needs between GH¢ 600- 650 to carry out road maintenance on an annual basis” he said on the same program.

According to him, petrol and diesel levy contribute 70% to the fund, road toll contribute 15-17% and the rest comes from international road transit fee and other tolls.

He admitted roads in the country do not last, but attributed it to climatic conditions, poor quality of materials used in building roads, and lack of supervision and maintenance by engineers after construction.

Mr. Agbenator however argued that road in Ghana will last if drivers abided by axle load limit.

He dismissed the perception that the Road Fund is not used for its intended purpose.

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