After declaring two consecutive years; 2020 and 2021 as years of roads, the 2022 budget may have to do much more to convince citizens that road infrastructure is being expanded and improved.
Complaints and demonstrations to demand for road infrastructure have been consistent across the country and the government has admitted the need for such infrastructure.
Nonetheless, the Roads Minister, Kwasi Amoako-Atta is not particularly happy about demonstrations for roads.
“It is unreasonable for anybody to say that all roads everywhere should be fixed simultaneously. So these demonstrations should stop. Sometimes you get people who are supposed to know better, well-educated people who should advice their colleagues joining demonstrations. Demonstrations don’t build roads,” the Roads minister, Kwasi Amoako Atta recently said.
He had earlier announced that the government plans to construct 6,000 kilometers out of 11,000 kilometers of roads in the country.
In addition, 120 bridges are also to be constructed out of 200 planned for between 2021 and 2024.
In 2021, the government released an amount of GHS 4.8 billion to kickstart some road projects.
In each of the three years prior to the first ‘Year of Roads’ in 2020, the government, on average, released GHS2,091,445,785.09, of budgeted funding for investment in the roads sector.
In line with the Public Private Partnership Act, 2020 (Act 1039), the government planned to activate a unique financing model for roads through the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund.
It has said the reconstruction and upgrading of the Accra-Tema Motorway will be the flagship of this model in 2021.
The dualisation of the Accra- Kumasi and Accra-Cape Coast-Takoradi roads, will similarly be financed through Public Private Partnership arrangements.
Some funds have been made available for the Accra-Kumasi highway dualization.
Going into 2022, the government will be looking to raise more revenue to finance road projects.
It has already given signals about the need to review road tolls in the country.
The roads minister gave the hint when he appeared before the Appointments Committee in Parliament on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, stating that one of the policies he will roll out is to without delay ensure that road tolls go up marginally.
“If I am given the approval, it’s one of the things I am going to do immediately. There is going to be a proposal to increase the toll rate, and I am going to bring to this house [Parliament] for support”, Mr. Amoako-Attah suggested.
“The research that has been done in my ministry suggest that, on the average, toll rate is about a dollar. In Ghana, a dollar is close to GHS 6.00 but people pay GHS 50p as road toll,” he added, however it is unclear how soon such a proposal will be brought before parliament.
Heading into the 2022 budget, contractors will again be hoping for more assurances on the payment of monies owed to them.
The government in the 2022 budget will also be thinking about servicing debts owed contractors to avoid payment of interest on the debts.