Minority applauds reintroduction of road tolls next year

The Minority in Parliament on Wednesday applauded the reintroduction of road tolls in 2023.

The reintroduction of the road toll was announced by Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister for Finance on Thursday, November 24, when he presented the 2023 Statement and Economic Policy to Parliament.

This was part of government revenue measures on selected roads in the 2023 budget.

The government stopped the collection of road tolls in November 2021 after it was announced in the 2022 budget.

“Mr Speaker, Government has abolished all tolls on public roads and bridges. This takes effect immediately after the Budget is approved,” Mr Ofori-Atta said during the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy presentation in Parliament.

Contributing to the ongoing 2023 budget debate in Parliament, Mr Governs Kwame Agbodza, Minority Spokesperson on Roads and Transport, said the government made a mistake in cancelling the toll in the first place.

“Mr Speaker, 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 and 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,” he said.

The Caucus, however, called for the toll to be used solely for road maintenance and threatened to withdraw their support if the revenue was not used for the intended purpose.

“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,” Mr Agbodza said.

When the collection of road tolls was discontinued, the Minority in Parliament strongly contended the decision was a huge blow to the country, saying “it will lead to massive revenue loss to the roads Ministry.

Mr Mubarak Mohammed, Minority Chief Whip, asserted that the state would lose as much as GH₵6million in revenue due to the decision.

By Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and section 21 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) the Mr Ofori-Atta, Minister for Finance on behalf of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, presented the 2023 Annual Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government to Parliament on Thursday, November 24.

Among other things, the 2023 Budget focused on Government’s strategies to restore and stabilise the macro economy, build resilience and promote inclusive growth and value creation.

It also featured updates on Ghana’s engagement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for an IMF-supported Programme; year-to-date macro-fiscal performance of the economy; the YouStart initiative under the Ghana CARES Programme; climate action strategies; fiscal measures and debt management strategies to ensure fiscal and debt sustainability and promote growth.

Dubbed: “Unity Budget”, it was on the theme: “Restoring and Sustaining Macroeconomic Stability and Resilience through Inclusive Growth and Value Creation.”

Source: GNA

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