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Minority slams govt over decision to reintroduce road tolls

Source The Ghana Report

The Minority Caucus in Parliament has condemned the government’s decision to reintroduce road tolls after three years of çancellation.

Addressing the press on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, Minority Chief Whip Governs Kwame Agbodza criticized the government’s decision arguing that the move highlighted the government’s lack of seriousness and proper governance.

“That is quite an interesting position by the current road minister. In fact, is it not the case that he was part of the cabinet when the decision was taken to suspend the collection of tolls and when Mr Speaker and all of us drew the attention that, that singular action was illegal, they told Mr Speaker to go to the toll booth to collect the toll himself if he likes. This is just a testament of a government that is wayward, lost touch and doesn’t know what they want.”

“Cabinet decided to suspend the collection of tolls as propaganda to foist E-levy down the throats of Ghanaians. We are paying E-levy today. They want to take more money from you so they are coming back to condemn each other to say that they want to collect tolls. Then the entire government is condemned. They cannot pick and choose who is upright in the government.”

“So’ we wait. We have been consistently saying that there was no need to suspend the collection of tolls. So, Ghanaians can see which part of the political divide can be trusted and is consistent with policies in this country.

“And obviously, the NPP’s record of being straight and fair to Ghanaians has been called into question so many times,” he stated.

Kwame Agbodza’s remarks follow the announcement by the Minister for Roads and Highways, Francis Asenso-Boakye, indicating that his outfit has begun engaging key stakeholders for their buy-in to bring back the tolls, which have become necessary in maintaining Ghana’s deteriorating roads.

Effective November 2021, the government ordered the suspension of the collection of road tolls across the country in a bid to ease traffic congestion at toll booths and in the hope that a portion of the e-levy revenue would be committed to maintaining the roads.

Since its passage, the e-levy has failed to generate the necessary funds, which has now led to the need for the reintroduction of road tolls.

“[Road] maintenance also means money. In many countries, they use the tolls that they collect from road tolls to finance maintenance. But in our case, we have suspended it, and I think it is a good time for us to start the discussion to bring these road tolls back and get money to maintain our roads.

“That is very important, and we have started the process by engaging the various stakeholders to get their buy-in to make sure that we bring the road tolls back,” the sector minister told reporters during an assessment tour of the Accra-Kumasi highway project.

“In many countries, they use the toll that we collect from the proceeds from road tolls to finance maintenance. So, at our ministry, we have started the process by engaging the various stakeholders to get their buy-in to make sure that we bring the road toll back. This is very important. I have never seen any serious country where they don’t toll their road,” Mr Asenso-Boakye added.

 

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