Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, as President in 2004, abolished the scheme and dismantled all toll gates across the country at great cost, after accusing the managers of using the revenue to enrich themselves…but now arrangements have been concluded to reintroduce toll gates in 38 points across the country, Power, Works & Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola said yesterday.
The minister said that the reintroduction of the toll gates by the Federal Government will be consummated after completion of major highways.
The toll gates are to be managed by the private sector, Fashola told members of the Senate Committee on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) when he appeared before them in Abuja yesterday.
He told the lawmakers of plans by the government to design software for the monitoring of vehicles passing through the roads.
According to him, road users would be able to pay toll through their phones, explaining that the toll collected would be used for maintenance of the highways.
He said, “We have concluded plans to reintroduce toll gates across the country and we have finalised the design.
“It will be managed by private sector and it will be located in the old places, 38 point across the country “We are only waiting for the completion of those roads before we introduce the toll gates.
He appealed to the Committee to revise procurement law in order to fast track contract approval by the government.
On budget release to FERMA,
He said that FERMA could be more effective and efficient if overhauled and compel to limit its operations to the core mandate of maintaining federal roads.
Fashola said: “FERMA can be the largest construction company in the country. It depends on what we are willing to put into the agency. In the past, FERMA collected monies for roads they did not construct. That has to stop in this government.
“We are working with the Army Corps to see how we can develop local content. FERMA can be biggest construction firm. The unemployment challenges we have can be reduced if FERMA is busy is every state.”
In his remarks, FERMA Committee Chairman Senator Magnus Abe noted that lawmakers, who are the true representatives of the people, are often sidelined by heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) when mulling siting of projects.
Abe said: “As elected representatives of the people, if the Federal Government is doing anything in your areas, our inputs are hardly needed. We will then have to fight for relevance.
“We are meeting you because of the challenges FERMA which is under your supervision is facing. Is this agency relevant in your scheme of things in your ministry? We need you to touch on the core challenges of this agency.”