Cancellation of road toll collection was a needless initiative according president of the Ghana Union of Traders Association, Dr. Joseph Obeng.
“The road tolls that have been stopped were needless, people were paying,” was a statement he made on TV3’s Key Points on Saturday, July 9, 2022, whilst contributing to Ghana’s decision seek a bailout from the IMF.
Road toll collections were suspended after the Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta announced in the budget statement an end to the collection of the tolls.
During the presentation of the 2022 budget statement to Parliament on Wednesday November 17, he said “A comprehensive review will be conducted after every fifth-year taking into consideration, other factors besides inflation including, improvement in quality of service delivery and privatisation of some of the services, where feasible. Mr. Speaker, our roads need fixing.
“Our roads are being fixed. It is true that more roads have been fixed and are being fixed over the last five years than any relative period in the entire history of our nation. We even want to do a lot more and this budget will cater for this.
“That is why for decades, Government after Government imposed and maintained tolls on some public roads to raise funds for road construction and maintenance. This is the situation in many countries. 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 (after appropriation or now?). 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.”
The government was asked to consider reintroducing the tolls after the suspension.
A Fiscal Policy Specialist at Oxfam, Dr Alex Ampaabeng, for instance questioned how the government was going to generate enough revenue to maintain the roads in the country when the tolls were no more in place. He spoke on TV3’s The Key Points show Saturday, November 20, 2021.
“We don’t have the best of roads in this country therefore, abolishing this, where are you going to get the money.”