FG Set to Build New 38 Toll Gates in Old Locations, Fashola Says Tolling Inevitable
The federal government has concluded plans to re-introduce tolls on major highways across Nigeria, starting with 38 points in the first phase of re-introduction.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), while appearing before the Senate Commitee on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency on Thursday, also said that tolling was inevitable to ensure road infrastructure development.
“Clearly, tolling is coming,” Fashola said.
The works minister also said the new toll gates would be located at the spots where the old ones that were demolished under past administrations were located. He however added that the toll gates would only be introduced when the roads became motorable.
“We are not going to ask road users to pay toll on a road that is not good. While the construction is going on, we are working on the design. We want to standardise the design so that when we ask people to come and bid for the construction, we can control what they are going to construct. They are going to construct with the materials we have prescribed.
“We can also control the price so that nobody is bidding with disparage prices; there will be the floor and the ceiling. Your price will vary according to how many plazas you build and not because you claim to have used ‘foreign’ materials.
“The last part we are working on is the software that drives the management, audit and payment of toll. We want to use the development that has taken place between when the old toll plazas were dismantled and now. There were no GSM and payment platforms as of that time as we have cell phones and cards now. We want to make it very easy for people to go to kiosks and buy toll cards and pay tolls,” Fashola said.
Assuring on transparency in managing the funds realised from the toll gates, the minister said measures would be put in place to ensure collection at the tolling points could be easily audited from any of the ministry’s offices.
“We will be able to see what is going on, how many people passed, how many vehicles, and we can settle payments to operators in a very transparent and accountable way,” he said.
According to the Punch, Fashola also told the lawmakers that only N800m had been released to Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) out of the N25bn voted to the agency in the 2017 budget because releases to the agency had to be suspended for a while as it did not have a board for some time.