The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has explained that only the National Assembly has the power to re-introduce toll gates as additional source for funding road maintenance.
Fashola made the explanation while fielding questions at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) forum wednesday in Abuja.
He said the governmenta had no power to re-introduce toll gates unless the National Assembly gave legislative approval.
“If we have those legislative approvals in Parliament, it means that Nigerians have voted for tolls.
Fashola said he would sustain the reform work that the previous administration had commenced on how to fund roads.
He, however, noted that for tolls to achieve its purpose, the existence of secure payment platforms and effective monitoring capacity would be able to prevent leakages.
“Some of the policy documents that I inherited were road sector reform, including how to fund roads.
“It may help Nigerians to decide which way to go.
“In terms of leakages, again, Nigeria has progressed significantly and there is much more capability to monitor such payments.
“There are also many more secure payment platforms.
“Therefore, the integrity trail of the payment to avoid leakage is easier to monitor.’’
He further explained that before tolling could be re-introduced, government must also seek legislative approval for the design of a compatible payment platform to cover the country.
Some stakeholders in the road sector have advocated for the re-introduction of toll gates to source additional funding for road rehabilitation and maintenance.
Fashola added that the federal government is targeting in 2016 to make about 2,000 kilometres of road network motorable.
He explained that the current administration would ensure the completion of all strategic roads demanding urgent attention before undertaking other road rehabilitation projects.
“There are roads that only sections of them are bad. There are roads that are really devastated that need to be totally rebuilt.
“And so, that is why our target is to make about 2,000 km of roads motorable network this year.
“So, the way I explained it then makes sense. We are not building 2,000 km roads. Our budget cannot build 2,000 kilometres of roads in one budget year.
“But because there are bad sections, there are failed sections (and) there are sections that need to be repaired.
“If we do all of that, then Nigerians will have a pleasant riding and travelling experience over about 2,000 kilometres of road network.”