Reintroduction Of Tollgates: One Of The Needful Steps For Road Development And Maintenance
Tolling is one of the ways of meeting the critical road and bridge needs of a country, more rapidly than would otherwise be possible with public funds alone, due to both limited and untimely release of public works budgets. Tolls are fast becoming a sustainable way of delivering transportation infrastructure projects, whether public, private or public-private-partnerships funded. It is also note worthy that tolled roads may be funded by accessing capital (debt and equity needed to construct, re-construction or rehabilitate) from commercial market and paid with income generated from tolls over a contractually agreed time frame.
Again, the income from tolling could be used to manage and maintain the road and/or bridge infrastructure and the provision of ancillary services. The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the use of public funds and private road concessionaires, can access this funding option.
Government’s view is that there are substantial benefits to be derived from tolling, provided certain principles are adhered to. Nigeria has long suffered from a sub-optimal road network that imposes significant costs in terms of travel time, vehicle wear and tear and high fatality rates. Limited or poor access resulting from underdeveloped networks also discourages investment and economic development in many regions of the country.
It is worth noting that road tolling is a tried and tested model in many countries. Indeed, road tolling is currently in operation in Nigeria on the newly built Lekki-Epe road and on access roads to major airports nationwide. Nigeria had operated some public tolled roads several years ago which were unfortunately discontinued in 2004 with the exception of some airport approach roads, due mainly to legal disputes, revenue leakages and unmet requirements for maintenance of the tolled roads.
Due to the enormity of the benefits accruable to the tolling system, the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari received several proposals on the issue of re-introduction of toll gates, as additional source of revenue to government. In view of the dwindling oil prices and the commodity being the mainstay of our economy and by way of ensuring sustainability and maintenance of Federal roads, tolling appears to be a credible option. The re-introduction of tolling, will therefore, serve as a tool for additional revenue to support effective management of the Federal road network.
Additionally, motorable Federal roads and bridges will reduce journey times and travel costs and ensure safer travel for road users. It can also encourage more investment and diversification of commercial activity to outlying areas that are currently not served by an effective trunk network. Importantly, tolls are also equitable because they are paid by those who use the road or bridge rather than from general taxes and a good avenue for job creation for the nation’s teaming unemployed youth.
Now that tolling is once again being considered as a policy option, Nigeria has the advantage of drawing from its past experience and the good practices of other countries applying same to successfully build, manage and maintain its highways through the instruments of tolling and Public-Private- Partnership (PPP). The challenges and experiences from previous concessionaired projects should be well studied to avoid a repetition of past mistakes. The Federal Ministry of Works should draw from the experience of specialist consultants through the Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility and other International Institutions.
During their maiden press briefing, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola and the Minister of State, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri disclosed that "if we ask everyone to pay a little as our commonwealth and hold those in charge accountable, and use technology…We don’t pay cash, we pay by token or by ticket and money is accountable and will go to the right place ".
On this note, the adoption of technology as professed by the Minister in collecting monies from toll gating will make the system efficient and accountable.
FASHOLA DELIVERS KEYNOTE ADDRESS AT THE ETOMI LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE 2018
Hon Minister of Power Works Housing and Keynote Speaker Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN right Principal Partner GEPLAW Mr George Etomi midle shortly after the Etomi Leadership Conference 2018 with the theme If Not Us Who If Not Now When at the Grand Junction Room Landmark Towers Water Corporation Rd Victoria Island Lagos on Friday 28th December 2018
DAY THREE OF FASHOLAS INSPECTION TOUR OF HIGHWAY PROJECTS IN THE SOUTH SOUTH ZONE
A Section of theBodo Bonny Road with Bridges across Afa Opobo and Nanabie Creeks in Rivers State duringthe third day of the inspection tour of ofHighway Projects in the South South Zone of the country by the Hon Minister of Power Works and Housing Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN on Saturday 18 February 2017 The contract for the Project was first awarded in 1998 and works started 2003 it dragged on till 2014 when contractor abandoned site but with provision of funding by the Federal Government construction work by Julius Berger Nigeria Plc is set to resume on the Project