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Fed Govt reintroduces toll gates on highways

The Federal Government has announced that it has concluded plans to re-introduce tolls on major highways across the country.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), while appearing before the Senate Committee on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency on Thursday, said 38 points had been identified in the first phase of the re-introduction.

“Clearly, tolling is coming,” the minister told the lawmakers.

While saying that the new toll gates would be situated at the old spots, Fashola stated that tolls would be collected after the roads had been made motorable.

He said, “We are not going to ask road users to pay toll on a road that is not good. While the construction (of gates) 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.

“It will also be easy to audit from any of our 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.”

Members of the committee decried that only N800m had been released to FERMA out of the N25bn voted to the agency in the 2017 budget.

They disclosed that there was a plan to move a motion next week to ask the government to release more funds for road maintenance as the Yuletide season was approaching.

Fashola however said releases to FERMA were suspended as the agency did not have a board for some time.

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