Speaker directs minister to reverse toll ban directive
Kwaku Baako describes toll ban directive as rushed by roads minister
A veteran journalist, Abdul Malik Kwaku Baako Jr, has found fault in the Minister for Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako Atta’s directive for the suspension of road and bridge toll collection across the country.
According to Kwaku Baako, the minister erred on the side of law when he issued a directive scrapping the collection of tolls on public roads and bridges as a result of policies contained in the 2022 budget statement.
Referencing the portions of the budget statement presented before parliament by the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta on Wednesday, November 17, 2021, Kwaku Baako has argued that the cessation of toll collection was to come into effect only after the approval of the budget and thus the minister was premature in implementing the policy.
“I repeat that relevant portion; this takes effect immediately the budget is approved.
“So there was no room for premature ejaculation on the part of the roads minister. What he did was completely wrong,” he submitted on Peace FM’s morning show ‘Kokrokoo’, on Wednesday, which was monitored by GhanaWeb.
The roads ministry in a statement some few hours after the budget presentation announced that the cessation of toll collection would come into effect at 12 am on November 18, 2021.
However, the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin speaking on the policy the morning after it was implemented noted that the minister undermined the powers of the legislature by going ahead to implement the policy.
He thus directed the minister to with immediate effect reverse the cessation of road and bridge toll collection insisting that failure to do so would amount to contempt of parliament.
The roads ministry has since responded with a statement saying it has only suspended the operationalization of the toll collection law and not the law itself.
According to the Ministry, the directive was necessitated owing to some unfortunate developments that characterized the response to the finance minister’s announcement in the budget.
The Ministry in a statement explained that many road users insisted on not paying road tolls and that some even engaged in near fisticuffs with toll collectors on Wednesday after the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta announced before Parliament that the government had abolished road tolls.
The ministry thus clarified that the directive was an intervention to avert further unfortunate incidents.
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