Payment of toll on some federal highways will return soon, Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola stated.
The tolling will begin after the roads have been fixed, he added.
According to the former Lagos State Governor, yesterday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting approved a memorandum his ministry presented to allow tolling on 5,050-kilometre of dual-carriage federal roads and bridges after all modalities have been finalised.
There are about 200,000-kilometre of roads across the country of which 35,000-kilometre (about 14 per cent) belong to the Federal Government.
Fashola told reporters at Aso Villa after the FEC meeting that vehicles will pay between N200 and N500 depending on how they are classified.
He said the toll collection will be automated to guarantee transparency.
Funds realised from the toll plazas will be used to maintain the roads and to construct new ones, he explained.
He added that wide consultations were made before arriving at the decision.
The minister argued that unless there is an alternative source of funding, the government will not be able to maintain its roads.
The Administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003, removed toll plazas and ended tolling on major highway, claiming lack of transparency.
Although Fashola did not name the likely roads and bridges to be tolled, major federal dual carriage ways are: Lagos-Ibadan Expressway; Onitsha-Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway and Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Highway.
“We have proposed and council has approved that certain types of vehicles be exempted for paying tolls. Those are bicycles, pedal cycles, tri-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 fully 100% exemption, as will be diplomatic and military and para military vehicles.
“We concede this as a national policy that’s why we’re making 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”.
Fashola emphasised that government consulted widely before taking the decision.
“We met with a lot of people, we met with government agencies first of all, but more importantly, we met with private sector and organised labour. Nobody that we met with opposed the idea of tolling, at least none of the people that we’ve met with opposed it.
”Some of people you might wish to know are members of the National Assembly, the Senate, and House of Reps committees oversighting 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 Digital Economy, which will be helping us with the electronic and digital aspect 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 have been embedded in some policies that I have spoken about”, he said.
▪︎ By The Nation