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Opinions of Thursday, 23 June 2011

Columnist: Pratt, Gayda Okormah

Tollbooth across the country, are there any benefits?

There are more than ten tollbooths across the entire country and the government plug revenues from the citizens or the road users for the road fund. There are now electronic tollbooths being installed to replace the manually operated ones which have started in Tema on the Tema motor way and it is the fervent hope of every Ghanaian that these replacements would be successful to ensure effectiveness and efficiency of the road fund.

The expectant question that most Ghanaians would like to ask is that are the funds used or being used for road maintenance and construction or being used for the benefits of some hungry people responsible for the road fund. If the road fund or tolls are really used for road construction and maintenance then the roads that have been abandoned and others that are being done lackadaisically like the Ofankor barrier road and the Accra-Kumasi highway need to stop because the amounts of money that the government plugs from road users are enough to complete the abandoned roads and motivate the continuation of the roads that are being done or under construction but in a lackadaisically.

The collection of tolls in the country and the reasons for less productive road construction in the country are all the fault of both the governments and the ordinary road users. We have experience two governments under the collection of tolls on our roads and therefore this can not be blamed on nay government or political party but on both governments, that is, the past NPP government and the current NDC government. There are now electronic tollbooths in other parts of the country but until this is done throughout the entire country we must make sure that manually operated ones are operated in a fair and patriotic manner this is because most of the operators are not patriotic enough to work for the country. On the Accra to Kumasi road most drivers do not pay the actual amount of money or toll that they are supposed to pay and the operators also overlook this kind of behavior and allow them to use the road because they also take an amount that is less than the stipulated price. Some of the drivers pay 50 pesewas instead of 1 cedi for those kind of vehicle that are supposed to pay that amount, the operators take the money for their personal use and then allow the drivers to go without giving them tickets. I strongly believe that this is not done on only Accra-Kumasi road but also on other roads across the country, but this is alleged until the real videos comes out to prove those unpatriotic operators guilty.

The government and those responsible for the road fund must make sure that a solution is brought forward to solve this particular problem of unpatriotic behavior by both the drivers and road users and also the tollbooth collectors. The government should make provision for this particular problem by allowing other patriotic personnel even if the security personnel to check drivers to see whether they are having tickets or not and this must not be done near the tollbooth. Other than that, the government will lose as much as it is losing right now into peoples pockets. The government must also make sure that all roads under construction must be completed as early as possible and the electronic tollbooth installation should also be quickened.

Miss. Gayda Okormah Pratt