Budget: Cessation of road tolls overnight misapplication of the law

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The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has directed the Minister of Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako Atta, to rescind his decision on the overnight cessation of the collection of road tolls in the country following the Budget presentation Wednesday.

The Speaker, on Thursday, November,18 said in Parliament that the minister acted wrongly by issuing that command, saying that his decision amounts to the misapplication of the law.

“Until this budget is approved, all that is contained in the budget are proposals. We have the authority to approve. So these are policy proposals that the finance minister has presented to the House. Until they are approved, nobody has the authority to start implementing something that does not exist. The minister might have misunderstood or misapplied the law and so it is for us to draw his attention.

“I think that it is proper for us to direct the minister, a senior member of this house, I think that he might have reacted wrongly and therefore I call on him to honourably withdraw that directive. Failure to do so, will be a serious breach of the directive of the Speaker and that will amount to contempt of Parliament,” he directed.

The Speaker’s directive came following a statement by the Majority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, to draw the House’s attention to the roads and highways minister’s decision to halt tolls collection barely 12 hours after the Budget was read.

Referring to the press release to that effect which was signed by the minister, the majority leader insisted that Mr Amoako-Atta’s decision was hasty, and “in excess of his mandate as a minister.”

He submitted that the minister’s action amounts to a disregard of existing legislation, like the Fees and Charges Act.

The government, through the finance minister, proposed a new policy to abolish the collection of road tolls on all public roads and bridges in the country as part of measures to ease traffic flow on the roads.

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