FUEL LEVY COMING NEXT YEAR
The Federal Government has concluded arrangements to introduce the five per cent Road Users Charge on petrol/ diesel as provided by the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) Act by 2011.
When implemented, 40 per cent of the money generated will accrue to FERMA for Abuja and across the country while 60 per cent would be utilised by state roads maintenance agencies.
Minister of Works, Sanusi Daggash, who disclosed this after an inspection tour of the Ibadan-Ogbomoso-Ilorin road dualisation, said that budgetary allocations were not enough to fund the road infrastructure.
He said: “FERMA Act provides for road users’ charge, this will be introduced in the course of the year 2011 and the money when generated would be used to maintain the road infrastructure across the country. People, who use government infrastructure should be ready to pay until we find a way out on this issue of funding; the challenges will continue to be there, road users should be ready to pay”.
The minister, who observed that the federal roads across the country are generally poor, said 60 per cent of the federal roads are in a very bad shape, 20 per cent manageable while only 15 per cent are in good condition.
Daggash, who blamed the bad state of the roads on underinvestment in infrastructure and lack of discipline on the part of road users, stressed that until government finds a way out of funding problem, the challenges would persist.
On why most of the road contracts are still ongoing even after the completion periods have elapsed, the minister said, “it is not the contractors fault, there are interrelated issues and government can only carry itself as much as it can and contractors respond to funding and certain risks. We have our responsibilities to meet but if we are unable to meet them, do you expect contractors to fund government, we have some challenges and as far as we don’t find a way out of this problem of funding, the challenges will continue to be there”.
The minister, who also disclosed plans by the ministry to introduce weigh bridges by 2011, said that the ministry had identified contractors for the supply of weigh bridges and would send some people to China, India and UK in the next few weeks.
According to him, over 150 weigh bridges will be procured and installed where the old toll plazas were so that even if we don’t build new roads, we can prolong the life span of the existing roads.