A former Roads and Highways minister, Joe Gidisu, has backed the Minister nominee for Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako-Attah’s plan to automate all toll booths in the country to ensure accountability for revenues collected.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, Mr. Gidisu noted that automation of toll booths would help reduce the road arrears accrued by the state.
[contextly_sidebar id=”xJKAyQuBNQzEpKSaUCtBbk4qYs9PHgJI”]Only four of the 31 tolling points in Ghana are automated at present.
Mr. Amoako-Attah, during his vetting on Wednesday, revealed that road arrears for the Ghana Highways Authority, Feeder Roads and Urban Roads as of December 31, 2016, stood at GH¢17 billion, adding that the Road Fund generated only GHc1.2 billion yearly, thus establishing a funding gap.
Speaking on why more toll booths had not been automated, Mr. Gidisu said, there are some of the roads which qualify but are yet to be automated like ones on the Kumasi and Sunyani roads.
“But the situation is that there is the need for some diligence and consistency in carrying that situation [the automation] around. Since I left that ministry, no other road toll booth has been automated. the four points were points that we automated at that time and returns have been quite encouraging.”
Innovation will overcome problem of congestion
There have been concerns that more automated toll booths would lead to more vehicular congestion, but Mr. Gidisu noted some innovations that could bypass this problem.
He recounted that at the Tema Motorway, traffic used to build up till the introduced the e-switch; where regular road users could prepay for tickets and use dedicated lanes. “We had a particular lane dedicated to the e-switch for regular users of the motorway so they do not have to wait at the toll booth to pay.”
“These are some of the innovations that we reduced the frustration of congestion that you are talking about… As noted by other speakers, it is one of the very effective ways we can mobilise funds for the road sector and the returns will be far greater in helping to reduce the tension on the road budget,” the former Roads and Highways minister said.
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana