- November 17, 2022
- Posted by: Amos Ekow Coffie
- Categories: Economics, Trade
Toll Workers in Ghana have said that even though it was stated in the 2022 budget that those who worked at the various Toll Plazas were going to be given Alternate Livelihoods, not a single one of them has been given an alternate livelihood or re-assigned a year after the assurance was given.
They also said promises made by the Minister for Roads and Highways Akwasi Amoako Atta, on all three occasions that they will be given a monthly allowance whilst they wait to be re-assigned, has also not been forthcoming since January 2022.
“This has brought untold hardship to our members, especially, in these difficult economic times,” a statement they issued on Thursday November 17 said.
“We have said this countless number of times, and we still stand by it, that the reason given by the Hon Finance Minister for which toll collection was zero rated is not strong enough grounds that should cause about 800 of the Citizens to lose their Jobs and Livelihood in this manner.
“We also wish to emphatically state that, we have not been paid off contrary to rumors flying around in Government circles.
“We therefore call on Government as a matter of urgency, to Re-Introduce Toll Collection and recall all of us who lost our livelihoods by this action back to work so we can live in dignity and also contribute our quota to national development.
“We would also like to use this opportunity to call on Civil Society including our Revered Chiefs and Religious Leaders of all faiths, to impress upon the Government to restore our dignity back by reinstating us,” the statement said.
The Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta announced in the budget statement an end to the collection of the tolls.
During the presentation of the 2022 budget statement to Parliament on Wednesday November 17, he said this takes effect immediately the Budget is approved (after appropriation or now?). The toll collection personnel will be reassigned.
“Government will complete its work with this House to pass the fees and charges bill for implementation in 2022.
“These fees and charges will be subject to automatic adjustment consistent with the annual average inflation as announced by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS).
“A comprehensive review will be conducted after every fifth-year taking into consideration, other factors besides inflation including, improvement in quality of service delivery and privatisation of some of the services, where feasible. Mr. Speaker, our roads need fixing. Our roads are being fixed.
“It is true that more roads have been fixed and are being fixed over the last five years than any relative period in the entire history of our nation. We even want to do a lot more and this budget will cater for this.
“That is why for decades, Government after Government imposed and maintained tolls on some public roads to raise funds for road construction and maintenance.
“This is the situation in many countries. However, over the years, the tolling points have become unhealthy market centres, led to heavy traffic on our roads, lengthened travel time from one place to another, and impacted negatively on productivity.
“The congestion generated at the tolling points, besides creating these inconveniences, also leads to pollution in and around those vicinities.
“To address these challenges, Government has abolished all tolls on public roads and bridges. This takes effect immediately the Budget is approved (after appropriation or now?). The toll collection personnel will be reassigned. The expected impact on productivity and reduced environmental pollution will more than off-set the revenue forgone by removing the tolls.”