Ahead of the reading of the 2022 budget before parliament by the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, the government has been advised to disregard suggestions for it to demolish toll booths and create a concept where people make one time payments.
A Fiscal Policy Specialist at Oxfam, Dr. Alex Ampaabeng in an interview on Eyewitnewss News on Tuesday said while it admits that the government needs to deploy creativity and innovation to raise revenue through various means, replacing the collection of road tolls with one-time road maintenance levies would not best address the problem of raising money to fix roads in the country.
“I think the toll booth itself is not a bad idea. In the UK and other places most of the highways have toll booths but the challenge we have is accounting for the revenue,” he stressed.
For sometime now various government officials including the Roads Minister, Kwasi Amoako-Atta and the Minister of state at the Ministry of Finance, Charles Adu-Boahen; have been hinting of plans to increase road tolls in the country in order to address the concerns of citizens who continue to protest for quality roads.
The Roads Minister recently made reference to the fact that road tolls on average in many places across the world is GH 6.00
The government may increase road tolls or heed other suggestions to allow for one-time payment of road levies, but according to Dr. Ampaabeng, road tolls must be maintained and the resources accrued from them must be strictly used to maintain roads across the country.
“Registering and taking the money from there, [toll booth] there could be unfairness in it. Punishing someone who doesn’t travel anywhere to pay [one-time] tolls is not right. The toll booth if properly earmarked would be the right way to go. The monies collected should be earmarked purely to maintain those roads,” he said.
He added that the collection of road tolls will guarantee streams of income throughout the year and enable the government to plan accordingly.