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Speaker directs Roads Minister to withdraw statement announcing cessation of road tolls

Speaker directs Roads Minister to withdraw statement announcing cessation of road tolls

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Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin has directed Roads and Highways Minister, Kwasi Amoako-Attah, to with immediate effective, withdraw his statement announcing the cessation of road tolls.

According to the Speaker, the Roads Minister lacks the legal mandate to implement a policy proposal when it has not been approved and passed Parliament.

“It is a proposal they are presenting to us to approve to take effect January 2022. And so until this budget is approved, all that is contained in the budget are proposals. We have the authority to approve.

“They have been given the authority pursuant to Article 179 to prepare and lay before the House. So those are policy proposals that the Minister has presented to the House. Until they are approved, nobody has the authority to start implementing something that doesn’t exist. That amounts to a disrespect of the House.”

He, therefore, stated that “The Executive on their own cannot suspend the implementation of that law. That is not democracy. I want to clearly direct that what the Minister (of Roads) has released has no effect. I call him to withdraw that directive.”

The directive was issued on Thursday, November 18, after Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu argued on the floor of the House that the Minister undermined the authority of the Legislature his directive.

Reacting to the Minority leader’s concerns, the Speaker stated that “the Minister (of Roads) might have misunderstood or misapplied the law and so it is for us to draw his attention and tell him that you have no such authority. It is very clear what the Minister tried to do, he has no authority. There is no such law for you to operationalize. The law we have now has imposed a figure they have been collecting.”

In a press statement issued on Wednesday, the Roads Minister directed that toll collection at the various toll booths across the country must be halted effective Thursday, November 18, 2021.

“Following the presentation of the 2022 Budget 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 here 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 letter read.

Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Thursday, the Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance, Mr John Kumah justified the Roads Minister directive. “If you want to introduce or reduce the fees, you need parliamentary approval but if you are scrapping the toll, the Minister can do it,” Mr. Kumah said.

This comes after an announcement the government that motorists who ply tolled roads across the country, will no longer be required to pay tolls after the budget has been approved.

The Finance Minister disclosed this during the 2022 budget presentation on the floor of Parliament on Wednesday.

“Government has abolished all tolls on public roads and bridges. This takes effect immediately the Budget is approved,” Ken Ofori-Atta said.

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