Fiji’s roads have never been in such a shocking condition, says FLP’s Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi.
And he has questioned why the millions collected in road user levy from motorists was not being used to fix the roads.
“I have been informed that some $13 million in levy collections are deposited in bank accounts of the LTA. Further, from the second half of this year all collections are being paid into the Consolidated Fund and not credited to the special fund for road maintenance and upgrade,” he said.
When the levy was first introduced in Budget 2009, Finance Minister Commodore Bainimarama told the nation in his Budget Address 2009 that:
“A road user levy, differentiated by vehicle category and classification, will be introduced effective 1 January 2009 on all vehicles. The revenue generated by this measure will be specifically set aside into an Infrastructure Rehabilitation and Development Fund, and utilised only for the purpose of road maintenance, upgrading and development.”
Roads in the capital city are in a deplorable condition. “It’s never been so bad. We are fed up,” said a taxi driver who was complaining about the horrid condition of the Suva-Nausori highway.
But it’s the same story all over. A regular traveller on the Queens Highway between Suva and Lautoka, commented that most of the ‘highway’ is littered with potholes and badly patched sections. There is no sign of any serious maintenance work being done on our roads, he said.
The worry for road users is that some $13 million of their money meant for maintenance and upgrading of roads is lying in the Bank and collections from July this year are going into general revenue.
The government- being always short of cash- can also easily transfer the $13 million to general revenue and use it for operating expenditure, in breach of the undertaking it gave that the money would be spent only on road maintenance, upgrade and development.
Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi