Fashola And The Return of Tollgate
Nigeria News take a look at the return of tollgate as being planned by the Federal Government.
There are 38 federal roads that the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola is planning to install tollgates as soon as they are repaired.
The minister said last week that Nigeria roads were not as bad as people painted it. However the government will need trillions of naira to repair the roads, what a contradiction.
And part of the measures to get funds for the repair and to also maintain the roads is by reintroducing tollgates.
It took the former Lagos State Governor, Fashola a serious battle with motorists along Lekki-Ajah corridor to enforce collection of tax on the road.
The motorists protested against the toll, which of course led to police brutality of some citizens then. In fact, Fashola vowed to sue a national newspaper for wrongfully reporting the death of a motorist during the protest.
Fashola went further to build tollgate on the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge. His idea was to quickly recoup the money spent to build the infrastructure from the motorists.
Lekki-Ajah road was built on concessioner arrangement with the agreement that the company that did it would recoup its money through road tax.
It seems the idea of tollgate is working in Lagos, which is giving Fashola the confidence to reintroduce it on federal roads.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo actually cancelled tollgate on federal roads to stop the high rate of corruption that was going on there.
Before Obasanjo’s regime, the tollgate was in place to get road tax from motorists, which was supposed to be used to repair the highways but it was discovered that a large percentage of the tolls collected were never remitted to the Federal Government’s account.
That was what made Obasanjo cancelled it and consequently increased the petrol price to N45 per litre, including N1.50k toll as an avenue to get some taxes from motorists.
The idea never brewed any trouble but rather than helping in repairing roads, the collapse of tollgates only reduced travel time as there was no need for motorists to queue for hours paying tolls.
However, Fashola is bent on returning the tollgates so that the government would be able to make some money for road maintenance and repair but the minister had failed to consider the high cost of petrol at present.
Perhaps the minister should be reminded that the petrol pump price is N145 per litre and that the new price was implemented by the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in which is a key cabinet member.
Perhaps, Fashola should be reminded that Nigerians are still paying more road tax with the new pump price and should not lay another burden on Nigerians through the tollgate.
The minister must note that the return of tollgate will definitely increase transport fares and of course prices of commodities in the market. Nigerians would expect Fashola to consider all data and factors before embarking on this policy.
Nigerians would also expect the National Assembly to table this for public debate before endorsing it.