The Minority in Parliament has welcomed the reintroduction of the road toll next year as contained in the 2023 budget presented to Parliament last week.
Government stopped the collection of road tolls in November 2021 after the presentation of the 2022 budget in Parliament.
The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta announced the return of road toll as part of government’s revenue measures on selected roads in the 2023 budget, last week.
Debating the budget statement on Wednesday, minority spokesperson on Roads and Transport, Governs Kwame Agbodza, whilst welcoming the development, said government was populist in cancelling the toll in the first place.
“We welcome the decision by the Roads Minister to bring back road tolls. We take no pride in saying we told you so.
Mr Speaker, it was populist, unnecessary and they were there shouting we are going to do it because we have e-levy, today they have brought a law here that they want to bring back road toll.”
The minority, however, called for the toll to be used solely for road maintenance else they would withdraw their support for it.
“If you bring the road toll back, all the accruals must go into road maintenance. Otherwise, we are not going to support you, that is why we say de-cap the road fund,” MrAgbodza said on the floor of Parliament.
It would be recalled that, when the collection of road tolls was stopped, the minority in Parliament strongly contended that the decision was a huge blow to the country, as it would lead to massive revenue loss to the Ministry of Road and High Highways.
The Minority Chief Whip, Mubarak Mohammed asserted that the state will lose as much as GH?6million in revenue due to the decision.
An economist with the University of Ghana Business School, Lord Mensah, called for whoever made such a decision to be surcharged as he believed it would lead to financial loss to the state.
“Whoever took the decision to stop the road toll has caused financial loss to the state, whatever has been lost he must be surcharged. It was not a prudent decision to take off the road toll,” he said at the time.
But appearing before Parliament in March this year, after the cancellation of the road toll was announced, the Roads and Highways Minister, Kwasi Amoako-Attah dismissed claims of revenue loss.
“Mr Speaker, there are in total, 38 toll booths across the country. There has been no loss of revenue to the Ministry of Roads and Highways since the cessation of the collection of the road tolls,” he told the House. -myjoyonline.com
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