Vickie Remoe Institute of Digital Communications

Toll gate price increase sparks serious transportation concerns

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Yesterday, Sierra Leone’s Government, via the Ministry of Works and Public Assets, announced an increase in toll gate prices for the Wellington-Masiaka highway. This price hike represents an increase of over 100 per cent, sparking serious concerns among Sierra Leoneans nationwide. Many fear it will worsen the already severe transportation challenges, particularly for residents of Freetown.

https://twitter.com/VOICE_232/status/1757516185678065931

Some argue that the toll fee increase will adversely impact businesses, particularly those in the agriculture sector, by disrupting the supply chain of goods. A poultry farmer highlighted the significant impact this will have on their operations, considering the already substantial costs they face in maintaining a viable business.

“As toll-gate prices increase, feed suppliers find themselves compelled to raise retail prices. The increased toll charges directly impact transportation costs for feed inputs, leaving suppliers with little choice,” said Mohamed Gandoh Jalloh, Bonkora Agro Ventures. 

The revised toll rates will be effective starting March 1, 2024. Changes include Group 1 – Tricycles increasing to NLE 3 from NLE 1, Group 2 – Taxis rising to NLE 5 from NLE 2, Group 3 – SUVs and Jeeps climbing to NLE 10 from NLE 4, Group 4 – Light trucks escalating to NLE 40 from NLE 18, Group 5 – Heavy duty trucks soaring to NLE 700 from NLE 183, and Group 6 – Fuel bowsers ascending to NLE 250 from NLE 100.

The Minister of Works, Dr. Denis Sandi, emphasized that the decision aligns with the terms of the 2017 agreement with China Railway Sixth Group (CRSG). The agreement allows for toll adjustments if there is a surge in the US Dollar market value exceeding 10 per cent. 

“We appreciate the cooperative approach of the Chinese government, as they have accommodated our requests to ensure that the new toll rates are fair. It’s important to note that they have been experiencing annual losses totaling six million dollars,” said Dr. Sandi. 

 

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