Some workers at various toll booths in Accra will today, Tuesday, November 30, 2021, embark on a demonstration to protest the cessation of the collection of tolls which has rendered them redundant.
According to them, the directive from the Minister of Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako Atta is having an adverse impact on their livelihoods.
This follows a directive from the Roads Minister that the collection of road and bridge tolls at all locations nationwide should halt effective from 12am on Thursday, November 18, 2021.
This followed the announcement made by the Finance Minister during the 2022 budget preparation to Parliament, where he said the decision was to take effect after Parliament approves the budget.
The government has said the tollbooth workers would be retrained and reassigned, and that none of them will lose their jobs as they will continue to withdraw their salaries.
In an interview, Secretary of the Ghana toll workers group, Edward Duncan, said the minister took a hasty decision.
“We are of the view that the Minister for Roads and Highways rushed the decision and should have waited for Parliament to deliberate on the budget especially on the part that deals with the cessation of the road tolls collection. So we are doing this to express our disapproval for the unlawful way in which he has abruptly brought our jobs to an end and our livelihood.”
Mr. Duncan added that it will be prudent if the sector minster is charged for causing financial loss to the state.
“If Ghana was a place where rule of law worked, the Minister per his decision and actions has caused financial loss to the state and should be charged for it because every day we know we make about GHS200,000.”
“If this amount is multiplied by the number of days we have been sitting at home, you can imagine the amount of money the government is losing.”
The Ministry of Roads and Highways directed the discontinuation of the collection of tolls on all public roads and bridges across the country from Thursday, November 18, 2021, at 12:00am.
The directive followed the announcement by the Finance Ministry of the scrapping of tolls on all public roads.
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin subsequently directed the Roads Minister to reverse that directive insisting it was illegal and must be immediately withdrawn.
He argued that although the cessation of tolls on public roads was announced in the 2022 budget, it remains a proposal until Parliament approves it.
However, the directive was not heeded by the minister.