The Chinese investors are expected to recover their investment through toll collection during the life of agreement (25 years) before transferring the highway to the government. The road will contain three toll stations with 1/3 of the total toll to be paid and collected at each of the toll stations.
Isaac Sebakijje outlines the benefits for this method. Toll collection, he writes in Rwanda’s ‘The New Times’ online newspaper “provides an accelerated mechanism for financing construction and maintenance. This is far better than traditional tax based or costly borrowed funds.”
When completed, the Wellington-Masiaka Highway is expected to ease traffic and boost trade through timely and effective business transaction. It also will lead to an increase in road safety. But we also have to pay a price for this for it is clear, that development goes with a price.
We admire the growth progress nations like Ghana, Rwanda and even Kenya are making, however ignoring the sacrifices they made, and are still making for them to be where they are today. Change of mindset is crucial here and this remains a primary challenge for us as a country.
Again, civil right groups, politicians and the media play are fundamental in all of this. When an opposition politician speaks against a decision he himself took part in, by way of voting in parliament for approval, it becomes another issue altogether.
There is the aspect of public education, which remains vital to development issues like having a toll. But should this only be limited to central government? In my view it should be a collective effort.
Sierra Leoneans should take ownership of their development by leading not from the back. We should not indulge in having our development partners to do all, including what is expected of us for claim of ownership. We have to start somewhere. The government has provided the leadership, what is required of us is meeting our responsibilities as citizens.
We need good roads, proper housing facilities and good educational institutions, but maintaining the view of getting them cheap or at no cost. This practically is unrealistic and not helpful in our drive to becoming a middle income nation. Let us take ownership of our development process. We just cannot wait.