Toll directive: Govt rushed – Traders

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Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

Traders around some toll booths in the country are unhappy with the way the government implemented the directive to cancel road and bridge toll collection.

According to the traders, the government rushed in implementing this directive. In their view, they should have been given enough time to find other areas to ply their trade.

Regarding their concerns, Energy Minister, Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh said that they have a point.

The Manhyia South lawmaker said on the New Day show that they should have been given some time to relocate.

This, according to them, is negatively affecting their businesses.

Dr. Opoku Prempeh told Johnnie Hughes on the show that “The women have a point. I won’t run away from that. Maybe on second thought, we should have given them time.”

Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta announced in the budget statement an end to the collection of the tolls.

During the presentation of the 2022 budget statement to Parliament on Wednesday, November 17, he said this takes effect immediately after the Budget is approved (after appropriation or now?). The toll collection personnel will be reassigned.

“Government will complete its work with this House to pass the fees and charges bill for implementation in 2022.

“These fees and charges will be subject to automatic adjustment consistent with the annual average inflation as announced by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS).

“A comprehensive review will be conducted after every fifth-year taking into consideration, other factors besides inflation including, improvement in quality of service delivery and privatization of some of the services, where feasible. Mr. Speaker, our roads need fixing. Our roads are being fixed.

“It is true that more roads have been fixed and are being fixed over the last five years than any relative period in the entire history of our nation. We even want to do a lot more and this budget will cater for this.

“That is why for decades, Government after Government imposed and maintained tolls on some public roads to raise funds for road construction and maintenance.

“This is the situation in many countries. However, over the years, the tolling points have become unhealthy market centres led to heavy traffic on our roads, lengthened travel time from one place to another, and impacted negatively on productivity.

“The congestion generated at the tolling points, besides creating these inconveniences, also leads to pollution in and around those vicinities.

“To address these challenges, the Government has abolished all tolls on public roads and bridges. This takes effect immediately after the Budget is approved (after appropriation or now?). The toll collection personnel will be reassigned. The expected impact on productivity and reduced environmental pollution will more than offset the revenue forgone by removing the tolls.”

Shortly after this announcement, the Minister of Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako Atta directed that collection of the tolls must stop by 12AM Thursday, November 18.

A statement he issued on Wednesday, November 17 after the budget presentation by the Finance Minister said “Following the presentation of the 2022 budget by the Finance Minister on behalf of the President of the Republic of Ghana on Wednesday, November 17, 2021, the Ministry of Road and Highways hereby directs the cessation of collection of road and bridge tolls at all locations nationwide. This directive takes immediate effect from 12am on Thursday, November 18, 2021.

“The Motor traffic and transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service will be on hand to provide security at the toll locations from the effective date. Motorists are kindly advised to approach the locations with caution and observe all safety measures that will be put in place. The motoring public will be advised of further measures in due course.”