The Minister-designate for Roads and Highways Kwasi Amoako Atta has revealed that the immediate past NDC government left behind an outstanding debt of Gh¢17.2 billion in the roads sector.
He described the figures as alarming as government’s revenue streams are inadequate to meet the rising debts.
He made this revelation when he was vetted by the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Wednesday (February 1, 2017) in Accra.
“There is a commitment of 17.2 billion cedis on road contracts and we have 1,282 road contracts with 87 bridges ongoing we have almost 900 million certificates raised and ready resting and gathering dust at the Ministry of Finance unpaid.”
He expressed worry over this development saying “it’s quite frightening and there is a huge funding gap and the true state of affairs is that awards were being made without proper reference to expected inflows.”
One of the main funds for the sector is the road levy. The fund which was set up to generate revenue to offset some of these debts currently is not performing well.
The fund is reported to be generating an annual return of 1.2 billion cedis.
However, another fund that increases road fund allocation is expected to be reduced downwards by the NPP government.
The energy sector levy increased the allocation to the road sector fund from 4 pesewas to 70 pesewas.
But the Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko maintains that the revision is necessary to relief consumers of the huge tax burden.
Responding to concerns on whether or not the energy sector levies were a nuisance tax, Kwasi Amoako Atta rather called for more pragmatic efforts to address the issue.
“Whatever we do to improve our economic situation, no matter the difficulty must be done with a human face…we needn’t embark upon anything at all.”