Day in day out, the media has not stopped short of screaming headlines on the country’s current economic situation. Sometimes they make it look scary.
Private and public conversations lately also tend to be centred on the economy and how biting it has become for households.
Between last Monday and Wednesday, I spent some time scanning newspaper headlines. The following were some of the headlines I picked relating to the economy:
“Economic hardships will be over soon … Akufo-Addo Assures”
“Don’t seek IMF Bailout – IEA TO Government”
“Government to pump $2bn to rescue Cedi”
“Cabinet retreat firms up major economic reliefs”
“Reduce your salary by 25%to save the economy”
“Debt to GDP crosses 80% mark”
“Fear not! The economy will rebound soon – Akufo-Addo”
“Confronting economic chanllenges … Difficult decisions ahead” “Council of State slashes allowances by 20 percent”
“Bank of Ghana announces increase in policy rate to 17%: Cost of living set to shoot up”
“Bawumia will speak on Ghana’s Economy on April 7 – Boako”
“TUC fumes at unstable fuel prices”
“Poor performance of Cedi reason for fuel price hikes – MP”
Clearly, the signs are that we are in hard times as a country, world economy notwithstanding.
So in the state we find ourselves, pictures of which were already on the wall, why did we cancel toll booth collections and continue to do so to this date?
The economic crunch suggests to those of us with very little economic background, that every Cedi is critical as we look with microscopic eyes for avenues of revenue generation to support and shore up the dwindling fortunes needed to run the country?
Over the last month, I have travelled by road from Accra to Takoradi and back. I have also been to Kumasi and back, both journeys made on weekends. I went through a total 12 toll booths free of charge. I kept thinking to myself, “That is money that could have gone into the revenue pot”.
I have used the Accra to Tema motorway once last month and twice this month without paying a toll. That is easy revenue down the drain, looking at the traffic load on all these major roads mentioned above. One can conjecture the amount of revenue we have lost as a result of the cancellation of toll booth collections.
I have found it difficult to accept the decision to cancel payment of tolls at certain points on our major roads after the investment that went into creating those booths.
Even in advanced countries some of which are supporting us in our developmental agenda, such collections are actively pursued. There is no denial that those counties are making revenue and channeling same towards development efforts.
The attractive side of road tolls in some of those countries is that commuters are ready to purchase their tickets upfront to last them a quarter, half year or the entire year. That is a reliable and ready income to bank on anytime.
With an estimated 35 toll booths nationwide that have been brought to a halt, it is alleged that the nation was collecting approximately GHC1Million on daily basis. That is good revenue to support a sector of the economy in these hard times.
Lost revenue apart, toll booths provided employment for some of our able and disabled young men and women. Today, all those who were so employed have joined the queue of job seekers.
Those who made living selling foodstuffs close to toll booths are all out of jobs even though one sees pockets of them still hanging around with their businesses near those abandoned toll booths on some of the major highways.
As one continues to assess the situation of closed toll booths and from a lay woman’s point of view, it is quite regrettable the needed and easy to obtain revenue we have just shut the doors to.
The critical search for every drop of income for national development in the face of the economic challenges of the day makes it a sad tale to continue to have the 35 toll booths across the country remain closed.
Can the decision be reversed, at least for now and perhaps when we are out of the woods, brought back or looked at again? Until then, bringing back toll booths as a measure of income generation will continue to be on my mind as we discuss our stalled economy.
GFA secretariat moved to Tamale to prepare for Elective Congress on Thursday
BridgeView Resort’s Edmond Ahadome wins CEO of the year award in hospitality
Sad scenes at funeral of KNUST student who died during childbirth
Viable projects will not suffer despite banks scaling back on credit – Dr. Andani
Bawumia commissions new Astroturf at Teshie, as anti-government chants ring out
Okyenhene calls for collaboration to reduce extreme poverty in Africa
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Development Bank Ghana to invest ¢1bn into economy by end of 2023
Ex WOI Zornu Johnson Yao
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