Information Minister, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, has justified why the Roads Minister suspended the collection of the tolls when Parliament had not approved the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the government.
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta presenting the 2022 budget of the government in Parliament announced that motorists who ply public roads nationwide will no longer be required to pay road tolls after the budget has been approved.
“Government has abolished all tolls on public roads and bridges. This takes effect immediately the Budget is approved,” Ken Ofori-Atta said.
Roads Minister’s directive
However, prior to the approval of the budget, the Roads Minister in a statement on Monday directed that toll collection at the various toll booths across the country should be halted effective Thursday, November 18, 2021.
“Following the presentation of the 2022 Budget by the Hon. Minister of Finance on behalf of His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Ghana on Wednesday, November 17, 2021, the Ministry of Roads and Highways hereby directs the cessation of the collection of road and bridge tolls at all locations nationwide. This directive takes effect from 12am on Thursday, November 18, 2021,” part of the statement read.
The road Minister has been criticized for this decision and for what some has described as a breach of Parliament’s regulations.
Information Minister, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, speaking to this in a one-on-one discussion on Peace FM’s morning show ‘Kokrokoo’ program said the Minister had “administrative” right to do such.
According to him, even though the constitution says you should go to parliament when introducing a new charge, “if Parliament has given you powers to introduce a charge and you want to suspend that charge, administratively you can do so without going to Parliament”.
Meanwhile, the speaker of Parliament has asked the road minister to reverse the decision to suspend the collection of the road toll.
According to him, until Parliament approves the financial proposals and policies contained in the 2022 budget, no minister can implement any policy contained in the budget.
“So, I think that it is proper for us to direct the minister, a senior member of this House, to honourably withdraw that directive; failure to do so will be a serious breach of the directive of the Speaker and that will amount to contempt of Parliament,” he indicated.
The Minister on the other hand says he only suspended the operationalization of the toll and not the law.
Listen to him in the video below: