Roads & Highways forum discusses draft bill for unified road agencies

The Ministry of Roads and Highways has convened a consultative forum with stakeholders to discuss the potential establishment of a unified authority as an alternative to the existing three road agencies.
The agencies, namely the Ghana Highways Authority, the Department of Urban Roads, and the Department of Feeder Roads, currently operate as distinct and autonomous entities.
Mr Kwasi Amoako-Attah, the Minister of Roads and Highways, said the integration was intended to optimise operations, improve coordination, and maximise the effectiveness of investments in the road industry to cater for the requirements of both urban and rural areas.
He said the proposed initiative also aims to tackle the existing constraints presented by the current road sector framework.
In his opening address, Mr Amoako-Attah, said the inadequate coordination, distinct mandates and lack of synchronisation among the various agencies had resulted in duplicate efforts, insufficient maintenance, inconsistent standards and project delays.
‘These challenges have had an adverse effect on the quality, safety, and sustainability of the road network, thus impeding economic growth and social development,’ he stated.
The Ministry of Roads and Highways, in collaboration with the Attorney General’s Department, put forth a draft bill for the Ghana National Roads Authority.
The bill is set to be presented to Cabinet and subsequently to Parliament for careful examination, consideration, and approval, according to the Minister.
The draft bill pertaining to the Ghana National Roads Authority had been proposed to establish the authority as a separate legal entity responsible for the planning, development, maintenance, and management of Ghana’s national road network.
The governing body of the authority would consist of a chairperson, the Director-General of the authority, and an engineer from the private sector who is a member of the association of consultants nominated by the council of that association.
One representative would be appointed from each of the ministries responsible for roads, finance, transport, the environment, and the interior.
The Ghana National Roads Authority oversees the coordination of road management in Ghana, connecting multiple districts under a unified authority.
Meanwhile, the responsibility for managing local roads falls under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies, Mr Amoako-Attah said.
He said the Ghana National Roads Authority will have jurisdiction over the management of the trunk road system, arterial road system, collector road system, district, and inter-district.
Mr Seth Kwame Acheampong, the Eastern Regional Minister, expressed his expectations regarding the ongoing reform exercise, emphasising the need for an improved way of conducting business that would directly impact the condition of roads in local communities.
He expressed confidence in the high calibre of individuals gathered for this forum and stated that their collective efforts will lead to significant reform, creating a platform for the efficient utilisation of manpower resources within the ministry.
He said the expectation was that this would also be evident in the different road departments within the Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs).
Participants urged the Minister of Roads and Highways to take into account the deteriorating condition of roads in the region and prioritise their reconstruction.
Representatives from various government bodies and agencies, including the Public Services Commission, Local Government Services, Ministry of Roads and Highways, the parliamentary select committee on roads, and the Board Chair of the Ghana Highways Authority, attended the forum.

Source: Ghana News Agency