Members of Parliament have unanimously called on the Minister of Finance to stop capping the Road Fund after approving a budget of GH¢2.3 billion for the Ministry of Roads and Highways yesterday to help execute road infrastructure in the country in 2020.
They have also called on the Minister of Finance to ensure that budget releases for the Roads and Highways Ministry are made timely so that roads under construction or the ones that are going to be built within that period are not stalled for the nation to incur more losses in terms of further deterioration of the roads and delays in paying road contractors working on the roads.
The Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, was particularly worried about non releases of budget allocation to the Ministry of Roads and Highways by the Minister of Finance. He said in the 2019 budget, GH¢900 million of the amount allocated to the ministry had still not been released to the Roads Minister to execute road projects earmarked for 2019.
He, therefore, appealed to all MPs not to politicize the issue but to unite as a legislature and demand that the GH¢900 million is immediately released by the Minister of Finance to shore up the resources of the Roads Ministry to be able to complete ongoing road projects which are of paramount interest to every Ghanaian.
“Mr. Speaker, we must insist that when it comes to roads construction, the Minister of Finance releases timely the budget allocation to the Ministry of Roads and Highways because Ghanaians are crying for good roads,” he stressed.
The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, said that capping of the Ghana Road Fund by the Minister of Finance had robbed the Ministry of Roads and Highways a whopping sum of GH¢2.2 billion since 2017, adding that more funds were badly needed to fix roads in the country.
He, therefore, appealed to the Minister of Finance to come back to Parliament and amend the capping law to de-cap the Road Fund.
The Minister of Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako-Atta, said that the amount budgeted for 2020 road infrastructure is unprecedented in the history of this country, stressing that the Akufo-Addo administration was very much committed to improving road network throughout the country and that is why in the budget, the year 2020 was declared as the 'year of roads'.
He said apart from the GH¢2.3 billion allocated for the ministry in the budget, substantial percentage of the money from the SINOHYDRO project had been allocated to the road sector to help improve roads in the country while much attention would be focused on certain priority roads in all the 16 regions of the country.