The Deputy Minister of Roads and Highways has expressed concern about the amount of money available for the Ministry in the Road Fund to undertake projects in the sector.
According to him, the Ministry receives GH¢ 1.2 billion from the Road Fund ever year but the “debt overhang in the Ministry is huge; close to GH¢ 11.6 bn in commitments, all contracts put together and that is big.”
He stated that due to the relatively negligible amount they receive annually, the Ministry is looking at other sources of funding for the road projects.
“The amount of money we are getting from the Road Fund is woefully inadequate to kick start the road sector the way we want to. There are lots of various arrangements we are looking at currently, BOT arrangements, PPP arrangements and some soft concessionary loans that we can tap into so we can expand the road network because they are quite critical,” Anthony Karbo said on Eyewitness News on Tuesday.
He argued that the lack of road projects by the current government was as a result of the debts left behind by the Mahama administration.
According to Karbo, the debts in the sector will have to be retired before any landmark projects can be efficiently undertaken
“Nothing seems to be happening also because of what we came to meet. We are not crying over spilt milk. We know there was a problem and that is why the Ghanaian people gave Nana Akufo-Addo this overwhelming mandate.
“The major projects we intend to do are capital intensive and involve a lot of money so if we don’t retire the debts we’ve met, they are going to be difficult. There are also contractual agreements, the more you delay in resolving the debts, you have delayed payments on interests and all these things go to shore up the money Gov’t has to retire these debts,” he added.
Anthony Karbo also suggested that the country’s tolling arrangements be reviewed, as the rates had not been adjusted for close to a decade.
“We need to look generally at the tolling arrangements we have in our country. For the last nine years, we haven’t adjusted the price of tolls in the country which is a very sensitive issue. But at the same time people will want to see good roads before they pay more tolls.”
‘Road fund coffers empty’
A Deputy Minister of Roads, Kwabena Owusu Aduom had earlier stated that the Ghana Road Fund is so depleted that it will take about 10 years to pay for already awarded contracts
According to the deputy Minister, the situation was worsened by the former government’s decision to award numerous road contracts in the last quarter of its administration.