The Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance, Charles Adu-Boahen, is making a case for the regular adjustment of road tolls in the country to attract private investment into the sector.
He said the current tolls being charged are unrealistic, making it unattractive for private people who wish to invest in the sector.
He indicated that embracing private sector investment in road construction will help ease the pressure on the government in terms of construction and rehabilitation of roads.
“In almost any country you go to, roads do not become just a remit of the government. You see a lot of commercial investors going into road construction because they can toll these roads and get an economic return. What we have to do is to look at the fees and charges when it comes to road tolls and make sure that they are realistic,” Mr. Adu-Boahen said on the Citi Breakfast Show.
This will not be the first time a top government official has hinted at a review of road tolls in the country.
During his vetting in February 2021, the Minister for Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako-Attah, proposed an upward review of Ghana’s road toll rate to finance major roads in the country, making a similar argument that increasing the toll will attract private investors to take up the construction of roads and make more roads in the country motorable.
The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, during the presentation of the 2021 Budget Statement also hinted at an upward review of the current road toll.
“Mr. Speaker, to maintain the improvements on our roads, the government will review existing road tolls and align them with current market rates,” he stated.
The last time road tolls were increased in Ghana was in 2009 under former president John Evans Atta-Mills.
“Twelve years ago today, and it is still [50 pesewas and] one cedi. If you have this situation where there is no automatic adjustment for inflation in tolls, there is no way you are going to attract private sector investors to come in,” he said.
“Until we amend the fees and tolls such that every year it is adjusted automatically by inflation, we will not be able to attract into the sector the type of investment that is required to support the government,” he added.
The demand for roads is one that successive governments in Ghana are inundated with periodically.
Despite the substantial investments by governments in the road sector, it has not been enough to show a significant improvement in the country’s overall network of roads