Nearly two years after the Minister for Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola announced the re-introduction of toll plazas on federal roads, the Federal Government has now approved a toll payment plan across the country.
The ministry revealed that the payment plan is part of a Federal Roads and Bridges Tolling Policy and Regulations approved by the Federal Government.
The policy exempts toll for diplomatic, military, para-military vehicles, tricycles, motorcycles.
The Minister for Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, shared that the regulations were developed after extensive consultations with various stakeholders within and outside the government, including transport unions like National Union of Road Transport Workers, Road Transport Employers’ Association Of Nigeria, amongst others.
He listed the recommended tolling fees in the approved policy and regulations to include “Cars: N200; SUVs: N300; Private Buses: N300; Commercial Buses: N150; Luxury Buses and Trucks: N500”.
The statement titled, ‘Nigeria Cabinet approves Federal Tolling Policy and Regulations’ also said “fees at existing tolled roads (Lagos and Abuja Airport Toll Plazas, and the Lekki and Ikoyi Toll Plazas) were taken into consideration” in reaching the new recommended pricing.
The statement listed 10 highlights of the new Federal Tolling Policy. Here are a few highlighted policies:
- It will be an Open Tolling system (just like the one that used to be in existence in the country), instead of a Closed Tolling system. (A Closed Tolling system means that you pay per distance traveled (‘distance-dependent’), while Open Tolling means you pay a fixed/flat rate that is not dependent on distance traveled).
- Only dual carriageways owned by the Federal Government will be eligible for tolling by the Federal Government. (Of the 35,000km of Federal Roads in existence in the country, only 5,050km are dual carriageway). Federal carriageways that are single, i.e. undivided highways will not be tolled. The only exceptions here will be some bridges, which are listed in the Policy.
- Toll Revenues will be used to maintain the roads and also to repay investors who have invested in building or completing a road under the Highway Development Management Initiative.
- Electronic Toll Collection and Management systems will be prioritized over Cash systems.
- The Tolling Policy is a broad National framework that will serve as a guide for States and Local Governments who seek to implement their own Tolling Policies. (As noted earlier, only about 16% of the total road network in Nigeria belongs to the Federal Government. States own/control roughly the same amount as the FG, while the rest – amounting to two-thirds are last-mile roads belonging to and under the responsibility of Local Governments).
- People who live around Toll Plaza Areas will benefit from what is called ‘Frequent User’ discounts, in line with global best practice.
- According to the Honorable Minister, the Federal Highways Act vests the power to toll (Federal Roads) in the Minister responsible for roads, but implementation of any tolling policy/regime involves many processes and multiple agencies, and therefore requires multi-stakeholder collaboration.
- According to the Minister, it is important to stress that even with this policy now approved, tolling is not going to start immediately. He very clearly said that Tolling will not start “until the roads are motorable.” This policy is a necessary condition for the implementation of Tolling, and it is now for people to start getting familiar with it and for relevant stakeholders to start using it as a basis for their financial modeling and investment analysis, ahead of the eventual rollout of Toll Plazas.”
Fashola further stressed that the new toll system would not commence until a good percent of unmotorable roads have been fixed. This means that the toll system would be restricted to only selected roads when the system begins.
” Let me be clear, tolls are not going to start tomorrow. So let us be clear about that”, he said in a briefing at the presidential villa.
On the issue of transparency and the purpose of the new policy, Fashola shared that the toll collected would be used to maintain existing roads and the rest with be used to construct new ones. The toll system would be electronically driven to foster transparency, he added.