More than a decade after the abolishment of toll gates on federal roads in the country, the Senate yesterday urged the Federal Government to reintroduce the measure to boost the nation’s revenue drive.
Apart from generating additional income for the country, in the face of the nation’s dwindling revenue from oil, the Senate wants the toll gates restored so as to generate revenue for road maintenance.
The parliamentarians argued that the return of the toll gate was in tandem with global best practice, stating the decision was taken after the adoption of recommendations of its Ad hoc Committee on Works, which investigated the total collapse of federal roads in Nigeria and prevalent gully erosion sites.
The committee was headed by Senator Barnabas Gemade (Benue, APC), who is now the Chairman, Senate Committee on Housing.
President Olusegun Obasanjo had in 2004 ordered the dismantling of toll gates across the country, citing loss of revenue to government and poor maintenance of the roads.
Also, sequel to the adoption of the report, the Senate mandated the Federal Government to make provisions for repair of major highways in the 2016 budget, lamenting that the state of the roads across the country was deplorable and therefore, needed urgent intervention.
The Senate also urged the Muhammadu Buhari administration to introduce weigh bridges to protect roads and to discourage overtaxing highways that were not constructed for ferrying heavy vehicles and trucks.
The committee further recommended that there should be rehabilitation and constant maintenance of existing roads infrastructure.
The Upper Chamber further invited the management of Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) to brief it on the state of Federal Government’s concessioning and ways of exploring Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements in road construction.
In his contribution, Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’ Allah (Kebbi/APC), urged government to partner with the private sector in order to develop the roads.
In his remark, Senate President Bukola Saraki said “government alone cannot fund road construction.”
“It is, therefore, important to re-introduce toll gates along major highways in the country,” Saraki said.