Toll gate to return to federal roads after 18 years
The federal government has approved the return of toll gates on selected federal roads across the country.
This is coming 18 years after the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo dismantled all toll plazas on federal roads across the country in 2003.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, SAN, who briefed the press after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday said only 14.3 per cent of the entire 35,000 kilometres federal roads that are dual carriageways will be eligible for tolling with vehicles paying between N150 and N500 per trip depending on their make.
He explained that the toll will be used to maintain roads and construct new roads.
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“We also got approval that the toll will be used to maintain roads, to construct new roads as they accrue and also to pay the investors who invest in building or completing a road and then take a concession on it. Those are the uses.
“We will also be going through a process of largely electronic toll collection and management system for audit and transparency. We’ll still have some cash at the very many more and hopefully phased that out as we go ahead.”
On the vehicles to be exempted from paying tolls, he said, “We have proposed and the council has approved that certain types of vehicles be exempted for paying tolls. Those are bicycles, pedal cycles, try cycles, motorcycles, and others that have two or three-wheeled transport used mainly by disadvantaged members of our community, they will be entitled to a full 100% exemption, as will be diplomatic and military and paramilitary vehicles.
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“We concede this as a national policy that’s why we’re making a very general framework. So that states can also decide subject to their local laws, local government can do their own tolling based on all of these considerations as a broad framework.”
The minister disclosed that the Policy and accompanying Regulations were developed after extensive consultations with various stakeholders within and outside the Government, including Transport Unions like NURTW, NARTO, RTEAN.
“We met with a lot of people, we met with government agencies first of all, but more importantly, we met with the private sector and organised labour. Nobody that we met with opposes the idea of tolling, at least none of the people that we’ve met with opposed it.
“Some of the people you might wish to know are members of the National Assembly, the Senate, and House of Reps committees oversight us so that they can take this feedback to their constituents. We had consultations with the Office of National Security Advisor, Bureau of Public Enterprises, the Ministry of communication and the digital economy, which will be helping us with the electronic and digital aspects of it.
“We also then met with those who are affected by the tolls themselves, Ministry of Transportation, who supervises a part of the transport business and then the road transport employers Association, the National Association of road transport owners (NARTO) and National Union Road transport workers (NUTRW) and Ministry of Trade and Investment, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection council. These are some of the people who have made very useful input which has been embedded in some policies that I have spoken about.”
Roads users are to pay the following: Cars: N200, SUVs: N300, Private Buses: N300, Commercial Buses: N150, Luxury Buses, and Trucks: N500.
We need to have a kick-off policy. So we’ve classified vehicles into five categories, cars, SUVs and jeeps as a second category. Private bus and commercial bus as third and fourth categories. And then luxury buses and trucks as a fifth category.
“So the start off tolls that we have for financial modelling and investment decision making, cars will pay N200, SUVs and Jeeps will pay N300, private busses will pay N300, commercial buses will pay N150, luxury buses and trucks will pay N500.
“Now I think it is important to share with you how we arrived at these prices. Some of these prices were recommended by the operators themselves that I said we met. Some of them were also obtained from a survey we did across the six geo-political zones, talking to households and talking to people in the garages, motor parks and all of that, which was quite extensive. We covered about 17 or so states or 22 states out of the national framework just to get a sampling of what people felt.”