Government urged to increase budget for road safety education
Nana Akufo-Addo’s Executive Order that sanctioned the immediate implementation of an action plan to curb road accidents has been criticised for allocating a small budget for road safety education.
Dr Godfred Akyea Darkwa, a road safety and transport consultant, commended the President for what he believes is a bold step to tackle the increasing incidents of road carnage on Ghana’s roads but says funds allocated to the National Road Safety Commission should have been increased at least four times.
The National Road Commission is mandated to play the lead role in championing, promoting and coordinating road safety activities in Ghana.
The current administration’s three-pronged approach to dealing with accidents involves Education, Enforcement and Engineering.
The ‘Education’ approach plans to “resource the National Road Safety Commission to scale up public education and sensitisation on road safety with an additional GHC 6.5 million from the Road Fund”.
However, while commending the President, Dr Darkwa said the GHC6.5 million was inadequate.
“It is so small to meet the challenge,” he said on MultiTV’s current affairs programme PM Express on Tuesday evening.
“If I were a budget officer for the National Road Safety Commission, [I will propose] about 30 million a year. If the National Road Safety Commission is able to assign 30 million a year for five years, we can get to a time when we will record only 15 deaths, not the 200 deaths [a year],” he added.
The Motor Transport and Traffic Directorate (MTTD) of the Ghana Police service has revealed in a report that an average of six people die in road accidents every day in Ghana.
Head of Education, Research and Training at the MTTD, DSP Mr Alexander Obeng who made the revelation on Monday blamed irresponsible driving for the situation.
The Mahama administration did better
Also speaking on the current affairs programme hosted by Nana Ansah Kwao IV, Executive Director of Safety Ghana, a road safety advocacy group, Nana Annor Amihere, suggested that the previous administration even allocated a lot more money to road safety education.
“The 2016 budget by the previous government that exited…was GHC6 million for the National Road Safety Commission,” he said.
“If you are a CEO of a company and you are losing GHC3.4 billion a year, would you throw a paltry sum of 6.5 million Ghana cedis at it?” he quizzed.
The GHC3.4 billion that Mr Amihere refers represents 1.7% of Ghana’s GDP.
“These are not figures that I am just churning out. These are figures from the WHO which states that the road crashes we have annually cost us 1.7% of GDP and our GDP has gone up 200 billion Ghana cedis a year,” he explained.