Deputy Ranking Member on the Finance Committee of Parliament, Isaac Adongo, says the directive from the Minister for Roads and Highways, Kwesi Amoako-Atta for the immediate cessation of the collection of tolls on public roads has financial loss implications.
The Speaker of Parliament on Wednesday directed the Minister to withdraw the directive or face contempt of parliament since the policy announced in the budget statement requires parliamentary approval before implementation.
Speaking in an interview, the Bolgatanga Central MP said the funds expected to be collected from the tolls have been already appropriated till the end of the year.
“Commitments have been made in respect of the monies made from road tolls, contractors are also on site working in account of those monies, and certificates are lying at the Ministry under the road fund as a result of these monies. Now that collection of tolls has been terminated, who is going to pay?” he asked.
“This will cause a serious financial loss to the state because the appropriation hasn’t expired. All funds that were appropriated for the 2021 Appropriation Act remain to be available to fund 2021.”
The Ministry of Roads and Highways directed the discontinuation of the collection of tolls on all public roads and bridges across the country from Thursday, November 18, 2021, at 12:00am.
The directive followed the announcement by the Finance Ministry of the scrapping of tolls on all public roads.
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin explained that the instruction by the Roads Minister was illegal and must be immediately withdrawn.
He argued that although the cessation of tolls on public roads was announced in the 2022 budget, it remains a proposal until Parliament approves it.
He said until then, the Minister had no right or legal basis to issue directives for road tolls, which are a source of government revenue approved by Parliament, to be stopped.
The Roads Ministry has however explained that the decision to direct the suspension of the collection of tolls was to avert some unfortunate incidents since there was chaos at some tollbooths following the announcement.