Roads Minister justifies suspension of toll collection despite Speaker of Parliament’s directive

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The Roads and Highways Ministry says the directive issued by the Ministry for the cessation on road toll was to suspend the operationalisation of the toll and not the law.

A press release issued from the Ministry of Roads and highways indicated that the earlier directive by the Minister, Kwesi Amoako-Atta to suspend the collection of toll by 12 am on Thursday was to “avert some unfortunate events” that happened at toll booths across the country.

According to them, the motorists clearly misconstrued the Finance Minister’s announcement on the road and bridge tolls “which was captured under paragraph 306 of the 2022 budget.”

We suspended operationalisation of toll collection, not the law - Road Ministry clarifies

“Unfortunately, the Minister of Finance’s statement either got misunderstood or misinterpreted by some motorists, as many of them deemed the statement as having immediate effect and therefore decided not to pay the road and bridge tolls. The insistence of the toll collected to have the tolls paid caused serious confusion and in some cases, resulted in fisticuffs and damage to lives and property,” portions of the statement said.

The release added that “The Ministry is aware of Parliament’s role in the imposition taxes and the fixing of levies and charges and in the fullness of time, the appropriate thing would be done.”

Meanwhile, Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin has directed the 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 by 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.”

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