NEWS COMMENTARY ON THE NEED FOR MINISTERS OF STATE AND SENIOR PUBLIC OFFICIALS TO PAY ROAD TOLLS
The Minister of Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako Attah recently implored all Ministers of State as well as men and women in top positions to pay road tolls to encourage other road users to do same. He revealed that apart from a few state personalities exempted from paying the road tolls, everyone including ministers and managing directors of companies are required to pay road tolls. However, the situation is different as a lot of people by virtue of their status in society are not honoring their road toll obligations to the state. The stand taken by the Roads and Highways Minister is very laudable because if Ministers and senior public officials who travel across the nation frequently accept to pay road tolls, it will help to increase money into the Road Fund and serve as example for ordinary road users to emulate. The Road Fund needs a lot of money to complement government’s annual road budget for construction and maintenance of roads across the country. It is in light of this that every well-meaning Ghanaian needs to back the Roads and Highways Minister in his crusade to get senior public officials to pay road tolls. It is our expectation that, MPs, Ministers and Managing Directors will take the advice of the Roads and Highways Minister in good faith by paying their road tolls religiously.
It is unfair for the payment of road tolls to be made the sole responsibility of commercial and private drivers. The Ministers of State and Members of Parliament have been elected to serve the nation. Their emolument and allowances are enough to meet their needs and expenditure therefore payment of paltry road tolls should not be an expense that must be waived. It is pleasing to the ear to hear the Minister of Roads and Highways speak of efforts to automate all the toll booths in the country. It is believed when that happens, it will help get everyone irrespective of status to pay the road tolls since it will be difficult for any road user to escape paying the tolls. The toll both attendants have a huge role to play in the road toll collection. They must insist on collecting tolls from all road users including Ministers in view of the pronouncement of the sector Minister. It is important to urge MPs, Ministers and heads of state institutions to take the payment of road tolls as a means of giving a helping hand to the Road Fund to ensure regular road maintenance and construction of new roads to enhance safety on the roads. While commending the Minister of Roads and Highways for bringing the non-payment of road tolls by senior public officials to the fore, it is our prayer that every road user including men in authority will live up to expectation by paying road tolls and other taxes and levies to help the state to undertake development projects. It is our civic responsibility to pay.
By: Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai – A Journalist.