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Surcharge whoever took the decision to stop road toll – Economist

Road tolls were abolished after the 2022 budget presentation

This was in anticipation of the E-Levy introduction

A 1.75% levy will be imposed on Ghanaians

An Economist with the University of Ghana Business School is suggesting that the abolishment of road tolls is having an effect on the resources of the country, therefore, whoever is responsible must be surcharged with the revenue loss to the state.

Lord Mensah, who was speaking on Joy FM’s ‘Top Story’ programme on Friday, said the person responsible has caused financial loss to the State.

He explained, “we know very well when we read the budget, the processes that the budget must go through, before the approval of funds, the release of funds and actualisation of those funds in the accounts of the various institutions that are supposed to use the funds, and we know the processes, they are quite cumbersome.

“Looking at a hung Parliament, I don’t foresee any prudent economic management who will say that I am going to remove road tolls because we have e-levy captured in the budget.”

He added “whoever took the decision to stop the road tolls has caused financial loss to the state, whatever has been lost he must be surcharged for it. …It wasn’t a prudent decision to take off the road tolls.”

The Finance Minister whilst presenting the 2022 Budget in Parliament on November 17, disclosed that “Government has abolished all tolls on public roads and bridges. This takes effect immediately after the Budget is approved.”

However, on the same day, Roads and Highways Minister Kwasi Amoako-Attah ordered that toll collection at toll booths around the country be ceased effective Thursday, November 18, 2021, while the budget had not been approved.

The Roads and Highways Minister indicated that the Ministry’s directive on the cessation of the collection of tolls on public roads and bridges was intended to save lives and property.

The Ministry then in a release indicated that the earlier directive by the sector Minister was to “avert some unfortunate events” that happened at toll booths across the country.

The ministry stated further, motorists clearly misconstrued the Finance Minister’s announcement on the road and bridge tolls “which was captured under paragraph 306 of the 2022 Budget.”

Meanwhile, the decision to avoid road tolls was made in anticipation of the E-Levy bill, which was expected to generate 6.7 billion Ghana cedis.

Ken Ofori-Atta, Finance Minister, at a town hall meeting on Friday in the Volta Region stated that the government’s cessation of collection of road tolls prior to the approval of the 2022 Budget has become a threat to the government’s revenue generation effort.

Minister said the appropriation bill was passed quickly because the government had confidence in its direction but the politicisation of the passage of the E-levy has created problems for the government.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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