Plans have been concluded by the Federal Government to reintroduce toll gates in 38 points across the country. Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola,who appeared before the senate committee on Federal Road Management Authority (FERMA) chaired by the committee chairman Senator Magnus Abe has said.
“Tolls will come.” “We have looked at the previous tolling regime, the inefficiencies raised we have tried to review. One of the things we have done is to try and standardise the toll designs for the entire country. We have finished with that. So that we’ll expand its width according to the size of the road but they will be built with the same kind of materials that we can control.”
Running of the tolls
The minister said the toll payment will be handled by a private firm while the government will design the software to monitor traffic flow at the designated toll points. Also to enhance ease of payments, road users will be able to pay toll using their phones.
Fashola said, “We have concluded plans to reintroduce toll gates across the country and we have finalised the design. “It will be managed by private sector and it will be located in the old places, 38 point across the country “We are only waiting for the completion of those roads before we introduce the toll gates.“ The Minister said that the toll collected would be used for maintenance of the highways.
Delay in the release of funds to FERMA.
On the budget release to FERMA, Fashola noted that out of N25 billion budget for the agency in the 2017 budget only N800 million was released so far by the federal ministry of Finance to the agency. The minister said the low release was because the agency had no management team and added that he has received the assurances of the Ministry of Finance that the appropriation would be released soon.The management team was appointed by the President in October 2017.
Money from the Sukuk Bond
Fashola also said that the N100 billion sourced through the Sukuk bond, was yet to be released to his Ministry to carry out 25 major road constructions in the six geopolitical zones of the country. “Funds generated from Sukuk have not been released because of the conditions tied to it. We will try and repair the roads before people start traveling for the festivities in December. We are doing something about that.”
The state of roads in the South-South and South-East
The minister also admitted that the south-south and the south –east regions have the worst roads in the country and efforts at top gear to fix the roads. “When we did the audit of our roads, we discovered some sections are bad. Many roads have outlived their lifespans. Many roads in the South East and South South were built before the Civil War. They are among the worst in the country. They need to be replaced.
The minister also disclosed that the ministry is in talks with contractors for palliative measures to ensure the roads are motorable for the approaching festive season.Former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration decided to scrap toll gates on highways nation-wide citing inconveniences to motorist plying the road and outlived their usefulness.
Reported by: Fikayo Owoeye