A directive by Speaker of Parliament on Thursday, November 19, 2021, cancelling Roads and Highways Minister Kwasi Amoako-Attah’s announcement of the cessation of payment of road tolls has been challenged by the Majority in Parliament.

Moments after the Speaker, Alban Bagbin’s, ruling, Majority Chief Whip Frank Annoh-Dompreh challenged the ruling arguing that it was not a resolution from the House.

According to the Nsawam-Adoagyiri MP, the House should have reached a resolution before the Speaker made any pronouncement.

Mr. Amoako-Attah directed immediate cessation of the collection of road and bridge tolls after Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta pronounced it in the 2022 Budget delivered to Parliament in Accra on Wednesday.

Thus, the Ministry of Roads and Highways directed that from midnight of Thursday, the collection of road and bridge tolls ceased on all public roads across the country,

At Thursday’s plenary sitting in Accra, Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu, quoting several pieces of legislation, including the Fees and Charges Miscellaneous Provisions Act, Act 983 and the Road and Tolls ACT, 1973, NRCD 153, questioned the Minister’s action.

He urged the House to take a severe view of the conduct of the Minister, saying it is an attempt to usurp the powers and mandate of the House.

The Minority Leader said the conduct of the Minister suggested that the country is not governed by law.

He warned that if such practices are allowed to continue, with Ministers issuing arbitrary directives without prior approval of people’s representatives, the state would be plunged into lawlessness.

Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, MP for Abuakwa South, submitted that the action of the Minister is not disrespectful. But a misreading of the law and could be an administrative error.

He said the Minister’s action is a matter of law, referable to the Attorney-General. The Minister might have misapprehended rather than disrespected the law, adding that it was too early in the day to impugn disrespect of the law.

Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza, MP for Adaklu and Ranking Member of the Roads and Transport Committee, also argued that Minister had no power to issue such a directive because he is on an official trip with the President, outside the jurisdiction.

Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah- Bonsu said the Minister’s directive was given out “timeously” to avoid a chaotic situation as information gathered indicated that there was confusion developing at some tollbooths due to the announcement of the cancellation.

He agreed that the directive did not conform to legality, but it did not suspend the law.

Mr Kyei Mensah-Bonsu suggested that the said directive was to prevent further loss of lives and property.

The Suame MP wants the House to invite the Minister to procure additional information from him.

In a ruling, Speaker Bagbin, quoting the introductory statement of the budget statement, said what is before the House is a proposal. Until the House approved it, it could not be implemented.

He said the Minister had no authority to issue the directive, stressing that proceeding to implement the directive could amount to contempt of Parliament.



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