General News of Thursday, 6 December 2012

Source: The Accra Times

NDC Will Be Given The Nod Again

Joe Gidisu says

By- Mohammed Saani Ibrahim—The Accra Times

The Sector Minister for Roads and Highways, hon. Joe Gidisu has indicated his optimism that the National Democratic Congress [NDC] will be given another four year mandate by the people on December 7th .

The Minister said the NDC based on their indelible achievements since January 2009 deserved to be given the nod again to form a new Government and continue the positive impact of improving the life of the people in the country. Hon. Joe Gidisu made these observations when he took his turn to brief the media on interventions being made by his Ministry to the nation’s economy at the weekly based ‘’ Meet the Press’’ series of the Ministry of Information on Tuesday.

He referred to road transportation as a strategic sector of Ghana’s economy as it forms an important part of the social safety net, facilitating the distribution of wealth through trade and employment opportunities in both urban and rural communities.

Ghana’s economy to achieve national targets for growth and poverty reduction depends to a very large extent on an efficient, reliable and safe road infrastructure system which is adequate, affordable and complements other models.

He noted that the focus of the Ministry is primarily to formulate and implement policies that make it possible for the provision of access through better distribution and integration of the road network system with special emphasis on safety, affordability and mobility.

The Ministry maintained its focus on routine and periodic maintenance activities to protect the huge investment made by Government in the provision of the road infrastructure. As at September 2012, he pointed out that routine maintenance had been undertaken on 7,495.5km of the trunk road network, 8,500 km on feeder roads whiles on the urban road network 945km of grading works and pothole patching was undertaken. Additionally, periodic maintenance activities, comprising re-gravelling, spot improvement and resealing works had been carried out on 64km, 400km and 1,577km on trunk, feeder and urban road networks respectively. Hon. Gidisu further explained that his Ministry under the road asset maintenance policy formulated a Program Estimate with the assistance of the European Commission to regulate overloading to an optimal limit and improve and expand on transport sector indicators and database for policy formulation and better management of investment in the sector.

The Roads and Highways Ministry improved revenue generation into the Road Fund for the maintenance of the road network as toll collection commenced at some strategic parts of the country. He mentioned New Offinso[Kumasi-Techiman], Kubease[ Nkawkaw-Kumasi] and Sawla [Bole-Wa] as new places where toll collections have commenced.

The Ghana Road Fund which was to provide a secure source of funding for the preservation of Ghana’s road network has seen an appreciable increase in the road user fees with the exception of the fuel levy following the enactment and implementation of the Fees and Charges [Miscellaneous Provisions] Act, Act 793 of 2009.

The Fund allocated a total of GHC 127 Million to three Agencies to undertake maintenance and minor rehabilitation works for this year which is expected to meet about 55% of the road maintenance need. As a result of the inadequacy of the revenue inflow, the Fund is as at September 2012, indebted to the tune of GHC243 Million leading to Government approving an amount of GHC180 Million to cover payment of executed works. He announced that the Ministry is exploring other sources to increase revenue into the Fund in addition to the five revenue sources of fuel levy, road and bridge tolls, vehicle licensing fees, vehicle road use[ road worthiness] fees and international transit fees.

He mentioned among other things that they are putting in place a policy framework to regulate the use of LPG powered vehicles and to institute appropriate legal basis or mechanism for vehicle using LPG to pay a levy to the Road Fund.

He further mentioned the establishment of additional toll booths on selected trunk roads and the automation of toll collection as some measures they are embarking on to increase revenue to the Fund.

The Minister described the automation of toll collections on the Accra-Tema Motorway and on the Mallam-Kasoa road in the Greater Accra Region as very successful which has helped in minimizing leakage of revenue.

Hon. Joe Gidisu called on Ghanaians to ensure a successful, credible, peaceful and transparent General Election on Friday 7th December.