The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin has directed the Minster of Roads and Highways, Hon. Kwesi Amoako Atta to reverse the decision to stop road toll payments in the country.
This comes after the Roads and Highways Minister gave a directive in a press release for the cessation of collection of tolls on public roads and bridges effective Thursday, November 18 after the Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta had announced in the 2022 budget statement the cancellation of the tolls.
During the presentation of the 2022 budget on Wednesday, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, revealed that motorists who ply tolled roads across the country will no longer pay tolls.
“Government has abolished all tolls on public roads and bridges. This takes effect immediately the Budget is approved. Over the years, the tolling points have become unhealthy market centres, led to heavy traffic on our roads, lengthened travel time from one place to another, and impacted negatively on productivity.”
In a response, the Minority in Parliament argued that the directive is a slap in the face of the law.
According to them, the minister cannot use a mere directive to overturn the Road Tolls Act passed by Parliament.
Speaking on the floor of the Parliament on Thursday November 18, 2021, Minority leader, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu also questioned the powers that the Minister relied on to issue such a directive when the budget has not been approved by Parliament.
During the proceedings of the House on Thursday, November 18, Rt. Hon Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin ruled that the Roads Minister must reverse his directive of stopping toll payments nationwide.
“I think that it is proper for us to direct the minister, a member of this house, in fact a senior member of this house, I think that he might have acted wrongly and therefore I call him to reverse this decision,” Bagbin stated.
The Speaker said the Budget Statement and Government’s Economic Policy are policy proposals that the Minister of Finance has presented to the House and until they are approved nobody has the authority to start implementing something that doesn’t exist.
He therefore called on him to honourably withdraw that directive and warned that failure to do so will be a serious breach of the directive of the Speaker and that would amount to Contempt of Parliament since the House is yet to debate the Government’s decision to scrap the tolls throughout the country which are good source of revenue into the state kitty.