John Boadu, General Secretary of the governing NPP has sarcastically questioned why Alban Bagbin, Speaker of Parliament did not accept the role of a toll collector when he ordered that the Roads and Highways Ministry should resend their decision of the cessation of collection of road tolls across the country.
Backing the decision of the sector minister, Kwasi Amoako-Attah, the NPP scribe in an address argued that the position of the Speaker of Parliament on the issue was technically right but the Minister’s decision was timely to avert any chaos at the various toll booths.
“Technically, the Speaker was right. If Parliament enacts a law, then only Parliament has the authority to repeal that law. But what the Road Minister did was also right, because the announcement of the scrapping of the payment of road tolls would have caused confusion at the toll collection centers.
“He only suspended the operationalisation of toll collection, not the law. If he had not done that, there would have been chaos at the toll booth. With all due respect, why did the Speaker himself not go to the various toll collection points to take tolls after issuing the directive to the Minister?,” Boadu quizzed whilst speaking at a gathering in the Central Region.
Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin, on November 18, directed Roads and Highways Minister, Kwasi Amoako-Attah, to with immediate effect, 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.”
After the presentation of the budget on Wednesday, November 17, the Roads Minister directed that toll collection at the various toll booths across the country must be halted effective Thursday, November 18, 2021.
“Following the presentation of the 2022 Budget by the Hon. Minister of Finance on behalf of His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Ghana on Wednesday, November 17, 2021, the Ministry of Roads and Highways hereby directs the cessation of the collection of road and bridge tolls at all locations nationwide.
“This directive takes effect from 12 am on Thursday, November 18, 2021,” part of the letter read.