As a nation we have over the years wholeheartedlyaccepted the concept of revenue mobilization by way of road tolls to maintain and develop the much-desired road networks to enhance effective movements for all manner of motorized vehicles.
Having taking pains to critically examine the toll booth concept as the only means of raising the much needed road fund revenue for national development, I have come to the realization that road tolls collections from drivers as the only source to mobilize funds into the nations road fund is very discriminatory and as well inefficient because it leaves greater majority of potential rate payers out of the generation net.
I must however indicate here that with the exception of specialized roads such as the motorway and the likes as well as bridges that have tolls boots as some sort of established requirements, toll in general as a matter of principle need no longer be a criteria or the only means available for the mobilization of Ghana’s much relied upon road fund.
Permit me to use the following scenario to clarity or buttress my assertion.
Have we for once pondered to realize that most vehicles (both commercial and private) may be doing routine brisk businesses for years without having the cause to ever pay even a dime at any of our toll booths simply because they just don’tply in areas that necessitates them to ever cross any mounted toll booth? This is a common feature mostly within the Regional capitals and the nearby townships. These areas are where we have the greater concentration of all manner of vehicles from taxis, private saloon vehicles, four wheel drives, mini buses and other various categories for both trotro and other official or private uses.
It will interest all of us to even realize that for instance commercial vehicles (trotro in particular that ply daily within the cosmopolitan Area of Accra, let’s say from places such as Dansoman to Circle, Circle to Osu, Kaneshie to Tema Station, Circle to Madina or Adenta, Circle to Labone, Circle to Teshie/Nungua, Madina to Mallam, Kaneshie to Nima, Circle to Dome etcetc, will never contribute ever in their lifetime in the cause of their brisk usual routine route businesses into the Road Fund.
Meanwhile all vehicles that ply at places such as Dodowa to either Madina or Accra pay toll on every trip to and fro. The same goes for every vehicle whose one end of destination necessitates that the vehicle has to endure the burden of passing through a toll point.
Ironically, it is these very roads that the vehicles are compelled to pay at every passage that we have most pot holes or damaged portions. For example, the Adenta-Dodowa road, the Ashaiman-Afienya road just to mention but a few.
We can all attest to the fact that roads within the capital cities where no tolls are collected rather receive immediate repairs whenever portions become damaged for obvious reasons.
Having outlined these features of discrimination associated with the toll booth concept, I hereby humbly submit that in order to widen the Road Fund basket to ensure maximum mobilization, the Road Fund levies as a revenue to the state solely for the maintenance and development of our roads should be worked out for all categories of motorized vehicles no matter where they ply their routine businesses and the accompanying fees being effecting tied to the road worthy renewal with sticker designed purposely for that.By so doing one does not necessarily have to cross a toll booth before contributing to the country’s road fund. If let’s say an amount of GH40, GH¢50, and GH¢60 for all buses depending on sizes, with private vehicle equally having their accompanying component of fees, this will bring an end to the feature of raising national revenue from only a particular group of vehicles due to their usual routine routes.
The designated stickers must also be displayed on windscreens just like the insurance and Road Worthy ones for easy monitoring by the enforcement agencies.
I am of the conviction that this would surely widen the fund basket and also bring an end to the age long discriminatory fund mobilization and above all result in speedly fixing of damaged roads and as well contribute meaningfully to the development of Ghana’s road network as a whole.
By Bernard Mats Yingura, a Local Governance Practitioner