The Ministry of Roads and Highways says its directive on the cessation of the collection of tolls on public roads and bridges is intended to save lives and property and not to suspend the law.
“The Ministry is aware of Parliament’s role in the imposition of taxes and the fixing of levies and charges and in the fullness of time, the appropriate thing would be done,” it said in an official statement on Thursday night.
The statement, issued by the Ministry’s Public Affairs Unit, and shared with the Ghana News Agency, said the directive followed information received by the Ministry that some drivers fiercely resisted the payment of the tolls immediately after Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta announced government’s decision to abolish it when he presented the 2022 Budget Statement to Parliament, on Wednesday.
“The insistence of the toll collectors to have the tolls paid caused serious confusion and, in some cases, resulted in fisticuffs and damage to lives and property,” it said.
“It was to avert further unfortunate incidents that the Ministry intervened by issuing the directive. ”
The directive asked collectors to cease operations on the midnight of Thursday, November 18.
The Ministry said it was aware that the abolition of the road and bridge tolls as announced by the Finance Minister would take effect immediately after Parliament had approved the Budget.
Addressing Parliament today, the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin took issue with the Ministry’s directive, emphasising that the announced abolition was a policy proposal and that it would not take effect until it was approved by the House.
“Those are policy proposals that the Minister presented to the House and until they are approved, nobody has the authority to start implementing something that doesn’t exist,” he said.
“It is very clear that what the Minister sought to do, but he had no such authority to do that. It is not a matter of operationalisation of the law. There is no such law for him to operationalise. The law we have now has imposed the fee that should be collected,” he said.
Mr Bagbin, however, said the Minister’s directive did not amount to a disrespect of the House…”because this is not a Court of Law, the Minister might have misunderstood or misapplied the law and so it is for us to draw his attention and tell him that you have no such authority.”
Some legal practitioners had also criticized the directive, citing similar reasons. Others, however, said the Ministry could use its administrative powers to suspend the payment of the tolls for good reason, while it sought Parliamentary approval to abolish it.
There are 38 road tolls on public roads across the country, and about 20 of them are privately managed.
Annually, the tolls accrue about GH¢ 78 million.
However, the Government said the revenue received was not worth the time wasted by vehicles, which queue in heavy traffic to pay the tolls, with health hazard from vehicular emissions.
It would, therefore, use e-levy to mobilise resources for national development.
Meanwhile, some hawkers who trade along toll points have protested the abolition of the tolls, saying it will dry up their source of livelihoods.
- 2 nursing trainees die in gory accident at Asankragua
- Police hunt for gunmen after rescuing trapped baby from snatched car in Kumasi
- Chilling account of how policeman was killed, assailant shot dead in Bono Region
- Moesha Boduong returns to social media after several months of silence
- Marriage by proxy is legitimate under Customary Law – Lawyer
- Police commiserate with families and victims of Atico accident
- ‘We all have 24 hours, establish yourself and stop hating successful people for nothing’ – Tracey Boakye
- Novak Djokovic: Tennis star deported after losing Australia visa battle
- Worker unions fear more job losses as local companies halt production over benchmark values
- Withdrawal of Speaker’s military attachment politically motivated – Minority
Wealth of world’s 10 richest men doubled in pandemic – Oxfam
Body of officer killed in Bono Region arrives at Police Headquarters
Enterprise Life holds 20th anniversary thanksgiving service
Sudan removes Al Jazeera Live’s TV licence
We have impacted over 8.5 million lives impacted so far – Head of Vodafone Ghana Foundation
Ghana Basektball Association complete first phase of national team draft
GPL Week 13 Wrap: Kordzi scores doubles in Wonders demolition, Danlad saves Kotoko
Akufo-Addo commended for extending PSRL to end of January 2022
Today’s front pages: Monday, January 17, 2022
Ghana does not face imminent external imbalances; economic fundamentals strong – Finance Minister
GRA hits 2021 revenue target with ¢57. 32bn; highest growth in 10 years
Message from the Morning Man: Say no to abortion
AFCON Day 8 Wrap: Equatorial Guinea shock Algeria, Ivory Coast and Mali held
Customer complaints of banks, other financial institutions dropped 27.87% in half-year 2021 – BoG
Ghanaians should tone down on negativity against Black Stars – Lepowura Jawula