The Ministry of Roads and Highways has recently submitted a memo to Parliament, seeking approval to reintroduce road tolls that were abolished in 2021. However, the proposal has faced opposition from the Minority in Parliament, who demand that funds generated from the tolls be used exclusively for road-related expenses.
Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza, the Minority Chief Whip in Parliament, voiced his concerns regarding the allocation of funds generated from the proposed road tolls. “In my view, unless we can prove that whatever we charge as road toll will entirely be used on road-related expenditure, the Minority will not support this. Because we can’t pay money for building roads and somebody uses it for a Cathedral,” he stated.
Mr Agbodza went on to criticize the 2023 Budget, which he believes only allocates a portion of the road toll revenue to road-related expenses. “Basically, in the 2023 Budget as you can see, the government is projecting that for instance, the road fund will generate GHC2.4 billion but if you go to Appendix 3(c). In the expenditure section, you will see that they are only going to spend about 1 billion Cedis on roads. In other words, we use the name of roads to collect money from the public and then we take the majority of that money and spend it elsewhere.”
The Minority Chief Whip emphasized that the minority will not support any amendment to reintroduce the road tolls if the Capping and Realignment Act is still applied to the road fund. “The Minority and Realignment Act is still on the road,” he said.
The reintroduction of road tolls remains a contentious issue in Parliament, with the Minority steadfast in their demand for transparency and proper allocation of the funds generated. The outcome of this debate will have significant implications for the nation’s infrastructure and budget allocation.