Abena Osei Asare, the Deputy Minister-designate of Finance has hinted that Ghanaians must brace themselves up to pay more for road tolls in the coming days.
According to her, Ghanaians must get ready to pay more taxes to the government.
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She revealed that the government needs adequate support from Ghanaians to succeed in its post-COVID-19 economy recovery plan and also aid the government to embark on an aggressive domestic revenue mobilization drive to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 on the economy.
She said several tax policies will be introduced between 2021 to 2023 that are aimed at raising more money to bridge the deficit created by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Interior Minister has been tasked to develop a gaming policy to raise some revenue from the sector and road tolls are expected to be increased to embark on road infrastructure development, Abena Osei Asare said at an event organized by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, under the theme “Economic Revitalization Amid COVID-19 Pandemic: The Civil Society Organizations’ Perspective”.
Meanwhile, the Minority in Parliament has said they will oppose any plan by the government to increase road tolls in a bid to fund road construction and maintenance.
The Minister-designate, Kwasi Amoako-Attah insisted that increasing the existing road tolls for vehicles in the country is the surest way to meet the demand for rehabilitation, maintenance and possible new constructions to improve infrastructure in Ghana’s road sector.
He made this known clearly to Ghanaians when he appeared before the Appointments Committee in Parliament on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.
“If I am given the approval, it’s one of the things I am going to do immediately. There is going to be a proposal to increase the toll rate, and I am going to bring to this house for support,” he said.
But the Ranking Member on the Roads and Transport Committee of Parliament, Kwame Agbodza said the Minority will only help the government if it removes the cap it has placed on the Road Fund.
“The Roads Minister is unable to tell the Finance Minister to de-cap the Road Fund. In the 2021 budget, the Finance Ministry agreed that the Road Fund gets about GH¢1.8 billion, but only GH¢1 billion will be available. The Finance Ministry takes the [remaining] money away and uses it for consumption.”
“We agree with the government that we must get more resources to the Roads Ministry to improve our roads, we will support the government in that endeavour, but we will not support the government to increase road tolls unless the government is able to de-cap the road fund and give all that money to the Roads Ministry, and then we can discuss the gap that will be left. Till then, they cannot get the support of our side of the house to increase road tolls” he said.
The National Road Safety Commission had earlier indicated that the charges are to provide reliable towing service so that when vehicles are abandoned on the road, they can ensure that they are swiftly towed to prevent road accidents.