Sierra Leone Parliament through its Speaker Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu will today Thursday 29th February 2024 finally decide on the cost of the tollgate fee.

The decision will ascertain whether there will be an increase or not in the tollgate price.

The House of Parliament engaged all stakeholders including the Ministry of Works and Public Assets, Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority (SLRSA), Sierra Leone Roads Authority (SLRA), China Railway Seventh Group (CRSG), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Drivers Union among others on the purpose increment on Tuesday, 27th February 2024, at the Committee Room.

According to the Speaker during the previous gathering, stated that whatever adjustment will be made has to be based on data in line with the agreement signed between the government and the Chinese construction company. He said it was a loan that was given to the government, noting that the repayment would be based on the collection of tariff data. He enquired to know what had been paid and the outstanding balance. He described the issues at hand as a matter of great national importance.

He said the agreement was signed in 2015 to construct or reconstruct the 62km wide road with four lanes carriage road from Freetown to Masiaka on a Built, Operate, and Transfer basis. He enquired about the review of the toll gate tariffs, what was the agreed tariff, what was provided at the review, and the date on which the review would take place.

He pointed out that the tariff will only be agreed based on the traffic data. He noted that the 2015 agreement was brought to Parliament for rectification, adding that the new tariff must also be brought to Parliament for ratification. He however questioned the timeliness of the increment considering the country’s economic situation.

In his contribution, the Deputy Director General of CRSG, Bingo said this is the only concession document that the price was agreed in USD and converted into Leones. He said “We have never increased any tariff since we started operation,” adding “We are facing serious financial constraints in our Company in maintaining the roads.” He emphasized that the toll gate adjustment price is far less than required. Mr. Bingo said there is an urgent need for the review of the contract. He said, “If you convert the current Leone to USD you will understand that it is just an 8% increment.” He said they submitted the request to the Ministry of Works in 2023 seeking clarification, adding that the road has contributed to the development of the nation as well decongested Freetown and created more jobs for young people.

After lengthy deliberations, the Speaker adjourned for today when further consultations will be made and a final position taken.