Minister says no financial loss to State from abolition of road tolls

Kwasi Amoako-Atta -Minister of Roads and Highways

Mr Kwasi Amoako-Attah, the Minister of Roads and Highways, has informed Parliament that there has been no financial loss to the State following the abolition of the roads and bridges tolls.

“Mr Speaker, there are in total 38 toll stations across the country. There has been no loss of revenue to the Ministry of Roads and Highways since the cessation of the collection of roads tolls,” Mr Amoako-Attah said in his answer to a question by Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza, Member of Parliament (MP) for Adaklu.

The MP wanted to know from the Minister of Roads and Highways, what is the estimated loss of revenue till date due to the cessation of collection of Roads and Bridge Tolls as contained in the Ministry’s press statement dated November 17, 2021.

Mr Amoako-Attah noted that after the presentation of the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government by the Minister of Finance on November 17, 2021, most road uses refused to pay road tolls at all the locations throughout the country.

“During that period, there was confusion between road users and the collectors. Mr Speaker, in order to save lives and properties at the toll locations, a directive was issued for the suspension of the collection of the tolls,” the Minister said.

“Mr Speaker, with the approval of the 2022 budget, effectively road tolls have been zero rated and there will be no revenue in 2022 for road tolls.”

Mr Agbodza said the Minister of Roads and Highways announced the cessation of tolls before the budget was approved and that for the records there would have been revenue loss for at least until the day the budget was approved, so the Roads and Highways Minister’ answer to his question couldn’t be accurate.

“The budget was not approved on the day it was read. So, Mr Speaker, how much revenue has been lost so far? Even if it is for two days, the Minister should be able to account for that.”

He reiterated that the cessation of the collection of tolls preceded the approval of the 2022 budget, so at least there was an interval between the day the finance minister read the budget and the day the budget was approved, so there would have been a loss of revenue until the budget had been approved.

“So, I am asking you much revenue has been loss to the state due to the cessation of the collection of tolls; since the day you made the announcement?”

Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, the First Deputy Speaker, presiding as Speaker, reminded the MP that the Minister had answered that question already.

Mr Agbodza said: “Mr Speaker, is it the case that when Ministers say things that we know obviously are not accurate we should accept them simply because they are Ministers? Because the budget was approved on a different date from the day, he made the announcement. So, there is a gap. Unless we want to say that whatever Ministers say are sacrosanct. But in this case, we might be pretending that what he says is accurate. It is not accurate.”

First Deputy Speaker: “He (the Minister of Roads and Highways) had answered that question. If you have another question.”

Mr Agbodza: “Mr Speaker, does the Minister has any intention of reinstating the collection of tolls?”

Mr Amoako-Attah said Government was fully determined to utilize all sources of revenue into the Road Fund to build road infrastructure in the country, including the revenue from tolls.

He said there were four main sources of revenue for the Road Fund; namely the fuel levy, toll booths, from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and from vehicles that traverse the corridors of the country.

He said of the almost GH¢2 billion revenue expected to accrue into the Fund, the fuel levy alone contributes not less than 94 per cent, while the other three sources account for nearly six per cent.

“The Government in its own wisdom has proposed the passage of the E-Levy to bring in more revenue to build the road infrastructure of our country for all of us,” Mr Amoako-Attah said.

“So, Government is looking forward to the passage of the E-Levy, that will bring in greater revenue that would be securitized and then used to raise bonds, if possible…to raise the bonds to build the road sector infrastructure.”

“So, Government’s direction and Government’s policy is to bring in a better form of collection, because the toll revenue is built-in in the proposed E-Levy.”

Source: GNA

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