An Economist and Political Risk Analyst has welcomed the decision of government to reintroduce road toll which was abolished in 2021.
According to Dr Theo Acheampong, payment of road toll is mandatory in every country. He was thus surprised when government scrapped the toll.
He also agreed with government’s decision to increase the toll rate.
“It is a good decision. Everywhere in the world, people pay road toll. So when it was scrapped, I actually said it didn’t make much sense to scrap it in the first instance.
“It indicates the policy incoherence and inconsistency. So bringing it back is good, increasing the toll amount, I fully support that”, Dr Acheampong said when speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile on Saturday.
It would be recalled that in November 2021, the Finance Minister announced the cessation of the collection of road tolls, subject to the approval of Parliament, during the presentation of the budget.
Mr Ofori-Atta cited congestion and traffic jams at the toll booths as justification for the decision.
On the back of this, the Roads and Highways Minister, Mr. Kwasi Amoako-Attah issued a press release to cancel the collection of road toll before Parliament could deliberate on the proposal which was presented by the Finance Minister.
However, in a memo dated March 10, 2023, the Finance Minister sought input on the new proposed rates from the Roads and Highways Ministry.
Mr Ofori-Atta’s proposal seeks an increment in the amount paid as road toll.
The government has since said the reintroduction of the toll is part of steps being taken to shore up revenues.
Per the memo sighted by Myjoyonline.com, the proposal is for a composite average of 88.05 per cent increase across board.
To this end, the Head of Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) Abbas Ibrahim Moro, has since disclosed that the union has no problem with the reintroduction of road toll but said they will only comply on condition that the money generated will be used for the right purpose.
He said many roads are still in deplorable states which leaves him baffled about where exactly the revenue has been channeled.
Defending the government’s decision to reintroduce road toll, Deputy Roads Minister Stephen Jalulah said it is because the E-levy is not raking in the needed revenue.
“Road tolls were only suspended, pending the approval of E-levy. Indeed, we use to get around GH₵70 million and that is a lot of money that can do something. But in the E-levy was a component of a chunck of money.
“If we had approved it earlier and if E-levy had worked the way it was conceived, I am not sure we’ll be having this conversation. But unfortunately, the E-levy failed us,” he said.
Commenting on the purpose for which the road toll would be used, Dr. Theo Acheampong said, “we want to see what the money is being used for and need to make sure that these new road toll that is being reintroduced, it was actually never scrapped, technically, it was zero-rated”.
He urged the government to channel the road levy into road projects that will benefit the country.
“We want to see that the monies are channeled into certain specific road projects and certain construction”, Dr Acheampong said.