Road tolls operationalisation suspended — Roads Ministry

BY: Joshua Bediako Koomson

The Ministry of Roads and Highways has explained that it has only suspended the operationalisation of tolls collection pending the repeal of the law.

A statement issued by the public relations unit of the ministry said the law passed by Parliament for toll collection was still intact, but the collection was what had been suspended, pending the total repeal of the legal framework.

In a rebuttal to the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, calling on the minister to reverse the suspension, the ministry said it was aware of Parliament's role in the imposition of taxes and the fixing of levies and charges.

It also further explained that following the announcement for the cessation of the collection of road and bridge tolls in the budget, some motorists either misunderstood or misinterpreted the statement.

As a result, the statement said, some of them deemed the statement to take immediate effect and, therefore, decided not to pay the road and bridge tolls.

“The insistence of the toll collectors to have the tolls paid caused serious confusion and, in some cases, resulted in fisticuffs.

“It was to avert further unfortunate incidents that the ministry intervened by issuing the directive,” the statement said.

Displeasure

A check from the toll booths across many parts of the country indicates that the tolls remained suspended.

At some of the points such as Kasoa, the traffic coming from Accra during the evening rush hour persists, mainly due to the recklessness of some commercial ‘trotro’ drivers.

Many hawkers have, however, expressed displeasure for the disruption in their business which hinged on the long traffic congestion.

They include some newspaper vendors, who also conducted aggressive sales at toll booths.

They have appealed to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to find alternative means for them to ply their trade since it was their only source of livelihood.

Background

The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, last Wednesday presented the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government to Parliament in which he proposed the abolition of all road and bridge tolls across the country.

However, in a statement issued a few hours after the budget statement and signed by the Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Kwasi Amoako Atta, the ministry directed that toll collection at the various toll booths across the country must be halted from 12 a.m. last Thursday.

This attracted some reservations from the Minority group in Parliament with the Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, accusing the minister of usurping the powers of Parliament, whose enactment birthed the tolls.

That resulted in the Speaker of Parliament ordering Mr Amoako Atta to immediately withdraw a press release calling for the cessation of collection of road tolls.