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25.03.2009 General News

Road & Highways budget not enough -Minority

By Emmanuel Kpeglah - Ghanaian Chronicle

The Minority in Parliament said yesterday that budgetary allocation for the Ministry of Roads and Highways for the 2009 fiscal year has been slashed. They are, therefore, calling for supplementary budget to support the sector.According to them the ยข987,440,254.00 allocated to the sector does not come anywhere near what it received in last year's budget.

Hon. Samuel Obodai, Member for Agona West, said this when contributing to the debate to approve allocation for the Road and Highways Ministry. He said it would be difficult for the Ministry to embark on maintenance of roads with such a disappointing budget.

The hottest spot of the debate came when Hon. Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei, member for Old Tafo stood on a point of order, criticizing the committee for committing a lot of errors in the report and demanded that debate on the budget be suspended until the corrections were done.

He argued that statutory expenditure should not be part of the report, which the majority insisted was not wrong, but a creative way of presenting the report as a departure from the old way of doing it.

When issue was settled, Hon. Owusu-Aduomi Kwabena, Member for Ejisu-Juaben also shared the same view with Hon. Obodai, saying the allocated amount for the Roads and Highway Ministry was only 39 percent of the planned budget and wondered whether the Ministry would be able to function well with such a scanty amount.

He said the Ministry would not be able to tackle new projects, and as a way of ameliorating the situation, some projects must be reviewed in the short term.

He said the Ministry should do much in maintaining the existing roads to prevent them from being damaged, adding that funds should be soured for road maintenance.

Hon. Charles Hodogbey, Member for North Tongu, on his part said in order o reduce the carnage on the roads, there should be a way of giving the drivers good training before licenses were issued.

He called on the police to fish out holders of illegal licenses and bemoaned the indiscriminate construction of illegal speed ramps on the road, and called on the Minister to correct the phenomenon.

He said Rest Stops must be created at vantage points on the highway for drivers who are tired to have a rest before they continue their journey.