Second Deputy Majority Chief Whip, Habib Iddrisu has criticized the Road Minister for directing that toll collection at the various toll booths across the country should be halted.
The Tolon MP admitted that the Minister erred, hence, the collection of road tolls should continue until the 2022 budget is approved by Parliament.
“The budget as it was read cannot be implemented until it is approved by Parliament. At the moment, the budget hasn’t been approved by Parliament. We are even yet to start the debate. That is why when you look at the Majority side, apart from procedural errors, we said that you cannot implement the budget until it is debated,” Habib Iddrisu said on Joy FM’s Top Story on Thursday, November 18, 2021.
The Roads and Highways Minister, Kwasi Amoako-Attah on Wednesday evening directed the immediate cessation of the collection of road tolls across the country.
The directive came hours after the Finance Minister announced in the 2022 budget that motorists who ply tolled roads across the country, will no longer be required to pay tolls.
“Government has abolished all tolls on public roads and bridges. This takes effect immediately after the Budget is approved,” Ken Ofori-Atta said while reading the 2022 budget to Parliament.
Despite this caveat, Kwasi Amoako-Attah announced the discontinuation of the collection of road tolls.
Earlier in Parliament on Thursday, the Minority Caucus raised concerns about the directive.
The Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu, arguing on the floor of Parliament, described the action of the Roads Minister as undermining the authority of the Legislature.
“Mr. Speaker the Honorable Minister for Roads must be told that this action and conduct of his is in excess of his powers as Minister and an attempt to dilute the mandate and authority of this August House,” he said.
The Majority side, however, did not agree with the assertion.
According to the Majority leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, the action by the Roads Minister was in good faith.
He argued that it was to save the confusions that would have risen at the various toll booths as road users would not be expecting that they pay tolls.
“I agree with the Minority leader that we have not even started the debate on the policy let alone to vote on it so the matter has not been concluded. My understanding is that yesterday after the delivery of the budget, confusion arose at the various toll booths, and to avoid further escalation of the confusion and chaos at the toll booths, the Minister, in other to save the situation, came with that directive. Mr. Speaker that really is what happened, the Minister wanted to save the situation,” he said.
However, the Speaker, Alban Bagbin has directed the Roads Minister to withdraw the statement and re-direct for the collection of road tolls to continue.
He described the Roads Minister’s directive as ‘an empty boast and one that has no effect”
Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister of Roads and Highways, Stephen P. Jalulah, says that the Ministry is yet to take action on the Speaker’s directive.
Speaking on NewsNight on Thursday, Stephen Jalulah insisted that “until further notice, we are not taking tolls at our toll stations across the country,”
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