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Business News of Sunday, 8 June 2014

Source: GNA

Gov't considering Build, Operate and Transfer option

Government is considering the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT), and the Maintain, Operate and Transfer (MOT) concept of Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, for the maintenance of roads in Ghana.

Government is also considering putting a levy on liquefied petroleum gas, which was now used as fuel for road transport, Alhaji Amin Amidu Sulemana, Ministry of Roads and Highways has announced.

He said government is exploring new avenues to improve the maintenance of roads because the Ghana Road Fund could currently sustain only about 40 per cent of the road maintenance needs in Ghana.

The remaining 60 per cent of road network maintenance had been left unattended to and government would have to look for funding from donor partners to fix them.

Alhaji Sulemana said the practice of always soliciting funding from donor partners should not be allowed to continue, hence the need for efforts and measures to generate more revenue from local sources, for the effective maintenance of the roads in Ghana.

Alhaji Sulemana was addressing members of road sector agencies including the Ghana Private Roads and Transport Union, Road Contractors Association, Municipal and District Chief Executives, as well as a cross-section of the public, at a public forum on financing road maintenance in Wa.

The Roads Minister said revenue accrued into the fund had consistently increased from 24.8 million Ghana cedis in 2,000 to 262.3 million Ghana cedis in 2013, bringing the total revenue accrued to the fund to 1.21 billion Ghana cedis.

He said the increase had been made possible due to increases on road tolls, vehicle registration fees, road user fees and international transit fees.

The fund is expected to roll in 271 million Ghana cedis this year to enable it to meet part of the road maintenance budget of the agencies which subsist on the fund to undertake their maintenance programmes and activities.

Alhaji Sulemana however said, despite the increase in revenue performance, the fund's indebtedness was 185 million Ghana cedis between 2013 and 2014.

He said for government to effectively address the challenges in the maintenance of roads, it was studying some recommendations from the Ministry of Roads and Highways to help make the fund more responsive and vibrant to the road maintenance needs.

Alhaji Sulemana called on road users to support the Road Fund to ensure that all the collectible revenue under the various items were mobilized and judiciously applied to the maintenance programmes of the agencies which subsisted on the fund.

Mr. Bede Ziedeng, Upper West Regional Minister, expressed dissatisfaction about the deplorable condition of roads in the region, especially during the raining season.

He said the situation has become a source of worry to the people as many of the communities are always cut off during the raining season.

About 80 per cent of roads in the region remain untarred, and the poor nature of the roads is also affecting the movement of foodstuff, goods and services.

Mr. Ziedeng called for the regular maintenance of the few roads to facilitate the rapid movement of goods and services among the people to enhance their livelihoods.

The regional minister raised concern about the construction of illegal speed ramps by residents of various communities, pointing out that the ramps destroy the road infrastructure and cause vehicular accidents leading to the death and maiming of able-bodied people.

He said the Upper West Regional Co-ordinating Council had issued orders to the road sector agencies to collaborate with the various municipal and district assemblies and the security agencies, to remove all such unauthorised structures.

Mr. Ziedeng, however appealed to the road sector agencies to address the concerns of the people, and construct appropriate speed ramps in the communities to avoid the people taking the law into their own hands.