Government’s inability to fully embark on road projects is as a result of the huge debt left behind by the Mahama administration, Deputy Minister of Roads and Transport, Anthony Karbo has revealed.
According to him, the previous administration left close to GH¢ 11.6 billion debt at the Ministry.
“The debt overhang in the Ministry is huge; close to GH¢ 11.6 billion in commitments, all contracts put together and that is big,” Anthony Karbo said on Eyewitness News.
He further indicated that the Ministry only receives GH¢ 1.2 billion from the Road Fund every year.
Karbo pointed out that, due to the relatively low amount they receive annually, the Ministry is considering other sources of funding for 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.
According to Karbo, the debts in the sector would have to be retired before any landmark project can be efficiently undertaken.
“Nothing seems to be happening also because of what we came to meet. We are not crying over spilled 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 involves 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 government 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 sometime.
“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 would 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 depleted such 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.
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