Business News of Friday, 1 June 2012

Source: GNA

Ghana Road Fund holds public forum at Takoradi

Revenue accruing to the Ghana Road Fund increased from GH?182 million in 2010 to GH? 209 million in 2011, Mr. Joe Gidisu, Minister of Roads and Highways, has said.

He said despite this financial achievements, the Fund carried forward an indebtedness of GH?180 million from 2011 to 2012, increasing the previous year's indebtedness by GH?106 million.

This was said in an address read for him by Dr Nii Quaye-Kuma, Deputy Minister of Roads and Highways, at a public forum on financing road maintenance organized by the Ghana Road Fund Management Board at Takoradi.

He said the burden of road maintenance must become a shared responsibility between government who constructs the roads and the road user.

Mr. Gidisu said revenue accruing into the Fund are to be exclusively dedicated to routine and periodic maintenance of the country's road network.

He said the Road Fund Act specifies the derivation of funds from levy on fuel, fees from registration of vehicles, Road User Fees, road tolls, bridge tolls, ferry tolls and international transit fees.

Mr. Gidisu said the capacity of the Fund could sustain only 60 per cent of the country's road maintenance needs, adding that certificate for works done by road contractors are paid from the Fund.

He said road maintenance requirements of the assemblies also continue to increase.

Mr. Gidisu said to address these concerns, government has been studying some recommendations made by his Ministry to make the Fund more responsive to the country's road maintenance needs.

He said the government is also exploring other financial methods such as the long term pre-financing to carry out road maintenance; another area of funding which the government has been giving some attention is to Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) and the Maintain, Operate and Transfer concepts of Public Private Partnership arrangements.

Professor Mohammed Salifu, a member of the Ghana Road Fund Board, said about 40 per cent of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) put on the market for domestic use are utilized by the transport sector.

He said the Fund is losing a lot of money that should be paid on levy on fuel, and hoped that a decision would be taken soon for the benefit of the Fund.

Professor Salifu, said the Fund is going to increase its tolls programme and Parliament has given its approval to the decision of the Fund to establish more tolls soon.

He said the Fund is a sustainable and equitable means of getting funds for regular road maintenance, and what is required to make it work as expected is a strong political will.**