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Road tolls return with 88% high jump …tollbooths won’t become toilets

The Government of Ghana has announced decisions to reintroduce the payment of road and bridge tolls nationwide, with an average increment of 88 percent in the amounts charged for tolls.

Motorists in Ghana paid a compulsory bridge and road tolls until November 2021 when Roads and Highways Minister, Kwasi Amoako-Attah unilaterally cancelled such payments in a dramatic fashion that raised eyebrows and dropped jaws..

Kwasi Amoako-Attah, after the cancellation, told Ghanaians that Government would convert the abandoned tollbooths into public washrooms in various parts of the country.

He said the logic was to ensure motorists and commuters stopped easing themselves by the bushes along roadsides.

“The Government will refurbish all those tollbooth structures to provide proper and decent washrooms, for use by motorists. So that we advise them to desist from the practice that you see, that at times cars stopping indiscriminately on the highway and people getting out, to wee-wee as we usually say it. You see men on the left and women on the right [urinating] look, it’s all indecent, it’s not a good practice,” Amoako-Atta had said.

16 months after the cancellation of the payment of road tolls, it is clear the tollbooths to toilets agenda has been abandoned because according to a letter from the Finance Ministry dated March 11, 2023, signed by the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta and addressed to the Roads and Highways Ministry, Government, as it had stated in the 2023 Budget, has resolved to reintroduce road and bridge tolls through an amendment of the Fees and Charges( Miscellaneous Provisions) Act,2022( Act 080).

The letter also proposed rates for the Road Ministry’s consideration and input if necessary.

“Reference is made to paragraph 462 of the 2023 Budget Statement and Economic of Government on reintroduction of road tolls. Reference is also made to Section 6 of the Fees and Charges (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2022, (Act 1080)

“It is provided under Section 6 of Act 1080 for the Minister to amend the schedules of the Act to include or exclude MDAs and/or adjust the fees and charges collected by MDAs for their services through a Legislative Instrument, when necessary.

“Accordingly, this Ministry has initiated steps to provide for foundational rates for tolling of roads and highways as part of the amendments of the Act, pending completion of the process to identify the roads and highways to be affected by the reintroduction of the road tolls as stated in the Budget,” the letter said.

The new rates range from Gp 0.50 for motorcycles to GHC 3.00 for heavier bigger vehicles.

The Government had defended the abrupt cancellation of the payment of road tolls, explaining among others that the collection of the tolls at various tollbooths caused traffic jams and inconvenience.

It would be recalled that two months ago, Majority Leader in Parliament and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu hinted that government intended raising a minimum of Ghs1 billion from road toll annually across the country.

According to him, the increase in revenue in the collection of the toll is possible because government intends to put in swift measure in its collections and also increase the toll.
Speaking on Wontumi Radio, Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu revealed that, it is likely the government is going to replace human beings with automated machines.

“We are bringing back road tolls in a modernized way. At first, we had people doing the collection”, he said

Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu also shockingly revealed “our investigations have shown that, only one third of the money collected came to government out of the total amount they collect”.

“We were told that, government receives only GHC 72 million which is one third of the total amount generated annually. It means that, when you do it well you can get more than GHC 200 million annually”, he said adding that, before abolishing the road toll we were taking GHC 1 on the average. Today, we plan to increase it to a minimum of GHC 5 whiles the bigger trucks will pay more. What it means is that, if GHc1 could generate 210 million or more, then GHC5 can generate 1 billion”, Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu revealed.

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