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Parliament has approved the 2023 annual budget estimates for three Ministries namely Roads and Highways, Transport and Railway development.
This forms the first batch of estimates the House is expected to consider in just about a week until it rises sine die on 21st December, 2022.
The House approved approximately GH¢5.295 billion, GH¢1.227 billion and GH¢618.239 million for the Ministry of Roads and Highways, Ministry of Railway Development, and Ministry of Transport respectively.
The Roads and Transport Committee in its report to the House noted the road sector is crucial in delivering an efficient road transportation system in the country.
It indicated the Road Ministry’s mandate of providing a road transport system responsive to the needs of society; supporting growth and reducing poverty while establishing and maintaining Ghana as the transportation hub of West Africa can be realized only if the Ministry is adequately resourced.
The Committee stressed that capping the Road Fund under the Earmarked Funds Capping and Realignment Act, 2017 (947) continues to affect funds available for use by the Ministry under the Road Fund.
It expressed concern about this development and urged the Finance Ministry to grant a special dispensation for the Roads and Highways Ministry to be exempted from the capping of funds to enable it to retain enough IGF to carry out some of its programmes and activities.
On the estimates of the Ministry of Railway Development, the Committee advised the ministry to prioritize its development projects expected to generate revenue in view of the current crisis facing the country, which will make it difficult to obtain the total amount needed to support the completion of outstanding projects.
The Committee urged the Ministry to liaise with potential investors to access funds through Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements in order to fund some capital projects.
It observed that the operation module of some railway projects does not support adequate revenue generation and cited the Tema-Mpakadan as an example.
The Committee urged the Ministry to therefore prioritize the Western Railway line as it is expected to link major mining towns to the Takoradi port upon completion and has the potential to generate more revenue for the government.
On the estimates of the Ministry of Transport, the Committee expressed concern at the rate at which motorbikes and tricycles are involved in accidents, resulting in the high rate of injuries and deaths, and called for their activities to be regulated.
It stressed that the Transport sector plays a critical role in the socio-economic development of the country as its role in the movement of people, goods, and services contributes significantly to the country’s economic fortunes.
The Ministry, it said, should therefore be adequately resourced to enable it to achieve its vision of establishing Ghana as the transportation hub of West Africa.