Majority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu has emphasized the need for the country to reach a consensus on revenue generation to finance roads and other infrastructure.
He said it was long overdue for the Government of Ghana to increase the road toll to enable it to raise enough funds to construct new roads and maintain existing ones.
“Everybody wants roads, but how do we get the money to pay not only for new roads but to maintain the existing ones? Having gone from 11 to 12 years without increasing the road toll, it is about time we look at increasing the road toll.”
Mr Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, who is also the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs (MOPA) made the remark at a programme organized by the Ministry for Parliamentary Affairs in an engagement with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Accra on the theme: “Economic revitalization Amid COVID-19 pandemic: The Civil Society Organisations’ Perspective.”
Mr Kyei Mensah-Bonsu said that the budget allocation to the Ministry of Roads and Highways was not more than GH¢1 billion whiles the Road Fund yielded about GH¢1.2 billion for the year.
He said so far, the government was indebted to road contractors to the tune of GH¢9 billion with an additional debt of GH¢7 billion in the pipeline making a total of GH¢16 billion but the total commitment to road contractors amounted to GH¢37 billion.
He cited for example that under President Atta-Mills in 2009, when the road toll was increased from 10 pesewas to Gh¢1.00, there was a “hue and cry” but over time, people accepted it when they saw improvements on the roads.
Mrs Abena Osei-Asare, Deputy Minister for Finance Designate speaking at the function announced government’s intention to embark on a domestic revenue drive to mitigate the adverse impact of Covid-19 on the economy.
She indicated the government objective to introduce several tax policies between 2021 and 2023 aimed at raising the needed resources to offset the deficit created by the pandemic.
Mrs Osei-Asare also hinted that government was working to increase the country’s GDP from 13 percent to 20 percent by 2023 to correspond with countries within the sub-region.
She noted that the Interior Minister had been tasked by the government to develop a gaming policy to raise some revenue from the sector whiles the road tolls are likely to be increase and the proceeds used to finance road projects.
She said the introduction of new taxes in the 2021 Budget and the launch of new government payment platforms would improve efficiency and revenue generation.