It appears the administration of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is only fascinated with compounding the woes of Ghanaians, especially car owners. If not, why reintroduce the road toll?
The ministry of Roads and Highways, has introduced a memo in parliament seeking approval to reintroduce road tolls after abolishing them in 2021, this was despite the objection raised by the minority in Parliament and well-meaning Ghanaians at the time.
The minister of Finance when he presented the 2022 budget in parliament, in proposing the abolition of the road toll, said among other things that , “However, over the years, the tolling points have become unhealthy market centres, led to heavy traffic on our roads, lengthened travel time from one place to another, and impacted negatively on productivity. The congestion generated at the tolling points, besides creating these inconveniences, also leads to pollution in and around those vicinities.
“To address these challenges, Government has abolished all tolls on public roads and bridges. This takes effect immediately the Budget is approved. The toll collection personnel will be reassigned. The expected impact on productivity and reduced environmental pollution will more than off-set the revenue forgone by removing the tolls,” Mr Ofori-Atta said.
With all that was said when road toll was abolished, we find it difficult to understand why, the government is reintroducing it.
Ghanaians believe that in the face of skyrocketing food and petroleum prices, the recent increases in the tariffs of electricity and water, all of which have contributed in no small measure to making life tough for many, the latest move amounts to a deliberate attempt to increase their misery.
Per the memo titled: Reintroduction of Road Tolls – Amendment of the Fees and Charges (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2022, (Act 1080), motorists will be paying higher tolls than they did before the controversial abolishment.
“It is provided under Section 6 of Act 1080 for the Minister to amend the schedules of the Act to include or exclude MDAs and/or adjust the fees and charges collected by MDAs for their services through a Legislative Instrument, when necessary.
“Accordingly, this Ministry has initiated steps to provide for foundational rates for tolling of roads and highways as part of the amendments of the Act, pending completion of the process to identify the roads and highways to be affected by the reintroduction of the road tolls as stated in the Budget.
“We are by this letter conveying the proposed rates as per the attached Appendix I for input by the Ministry of Roads and Highways to enable this Ministry complete the schedule of fees under the impending Legislative Instrument,” the memo reads.
As a newspaper, we are very much aware of the fact that the nation is facing a serious revenue challenge, which is made worse by huge debt servicing, but if the government had listened to the minority in parliament and other Ghanaians, to hasten slowly on the introduction of the E-Levy, we will not have been where we are today.
This administration is more concerned at listening to itself, than other discerning voices. Ghana is for all Ghanaians, and we all have a stake in making a better place for all us.
It is time the government listens more to outside voices.