Executive Secretary of the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC), Duncan Amoah, has commended government for abolishing tolls on all public roads and bridges.
He said a study conducted at all the 36 toll booths nationwide showed that about 400 million cedis was lost annually through fuel wastage from traffic congestion.
Mr Amoah was speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview over the decision by the Government to abolish the tolls as announced by Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta when he presented the 2022 Budget Statement to Parliament, Wednesday.
Mr Amoah noted that it was not worthy for vehicle owners to waste
400 million Cedis in fuel to contribute only 71 million cedis to the Government in toll levies.
He said the recommendation by COPEC to the Government to increase the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) levies by 15 per cent to make up for the loss in revenue would help to generate funds to execute development projects.
Mr Amoah said using the DVLA as a means to generate revenue was an innovative way of handling these toll booths that were polluting the environment and affecting productivity.
“Some 400 million cedis go to waste as a result of the toll booths. Now that fuel prices have even gone up, the waste is even likely to go up about 50 pesewas thereabout per minute for the average car with an engine capacity of 2.0,” he added.
“Cars with the bigger engines, burn more fuel while waiting for their turn to pay their tolls of one cedi, thus, people, especially the those with bigger engines, will even waste more than what they actually pay in tolls.”
He, however, recommended to the DVLA to take steps to ensure that the transit trucks from the neighbouring countries were put on a system to enable them to pay the tolls, explaining that activities of such vehicles impacted negatively on the road.
“There must be a certain derivative in getting those trucks that also come from Burkina, Mali and other neighbouring countries to pick products or goods from the ports; there should be a certain mechanism to get them to pay what the ordinary Ghanaian is likely to be paying for at the DVLA,” he said.
Mr Ofori-Atta on Wednesday announced the government’s intention to abolish tolls on all public roads and bridges.
This, he explained, was to improve productivity and reduce environmental pollution.
He said the action was also meant to reduce the heavy traffic where road tolls were found.
“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,” Mr Ofori-Atta said.
“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, the Government has abolished all tolls on public roads and bridges.”
The Finance Minister said the abolishing would take effect immediately after the Budget was approved.
The toll collection personnel would be reassigned.