Speaker of Parliament, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin has directed the Roads and Highways Minister, Kwasi Amoako-Atta, to reverse his decision to suspend the collection of road tolls because, in his view, the Minister acted wrongly by issuing that order.
The Speaker said the Budget Statement and Government’s Economic Policy are policy proposals that the Minister of Finance has presented to the House and until they are approved nobody has the authority to start implementing aspect of it.
He therefore called on the minister to honourably withdraw that directive, warning that failure to do so will be a serious breach of the directive of the Speaker and that would amount to Contempt of Parliament since the House is yet to debate the Government’s decision to scrap the tolls throughout the country which are good source of revenue into the state kitty.
“I think that it is proper for us to direct the Minister, a Member of this House, in fact a Senior Member of this House, I think that he might have acted wrongly and therefore I call on him to reverse this decision,” the Speaker ruled.
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta during the Budget Statement presentation indicated that Ghana’s roads need fixing and are being fixed but considering the plight of Ghanaians, he said Government has abolished all tolls on public roads and bridges with effect from immediately after the Budget is approved. ××
The Roads and Highways Minister shockingly rushed to direct the immediate discontinuation of tolls collection on all public roads and bridges across the country few hours after the Finance Minister’s announcement.
The Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu during the day’s deliberations questioned the powers that the Minister relied on to issue such a directive that toll collection at the various toll booths and bridges across the country must be halted effective Thursday, November 18, 2021when the Budget had not been approved by Parliament.
The Member of Parliament for Adaklu, Governs Kwame Agbodza in support of the Minority Leader said it was quite clear that the Minister clearly sidestepped Parliament by pretending that he as a Minister, not even the Finance Minister, has the right to waive taxes in this country.
The Member of Parliament for Abuakwa South, Samuel Atta Akyea , on his part defended the Minister saying he did not disrespect Parliament and the laws by issuing that order when the budget had not been approved but rather the directive is an administrative error which should not be.
An attempt by the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu to challenge the Speaker’s directive was unsuccessful because the Speaker advanced superior legislative arguments to buttress his decision.