Minister can suspend collection of road tolls, says John Kumah
The deputy minister for finance, John Kumah says the Minister of Roads and Highways has the discretionary powers to make decisions within the laws of the country.
According to him, once the Roads and Highways Minister has been given the mandate to fix road tolls, he also has the discretion to suspend the collection of road tolls on our roads.
His comment comes after the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin directed the Roads and Highways Minister to reverse the directive on the cessation of road tolls until Parliament provides appropriate legislation.
Bagbin said it is only proper for the minister to reverse the directive on the cessation of road tolls since Parliament is yet to approve the 2022 Budget.
But speaking with Beatrice Adu on The Big Bulletin on Thursday, (18 November 2021), Kumah explained that “I believe that once he’s been given the mandate to fix road tolls, he also has the discretion to suspend the collection of road tolls. So, if he has erred, or somebody thinks contrary, you can go to court. Is the court that has the right to determine whether a ministers’ decision was made contrary to the law.”
“He is the minister so he is allowed within the laws to use his discretionary powers to take actions within the law. So, if in his mind, this is the right thing to do, he’s allowed within the law to make decisions. Judges make errors even in their decisions, ministers are also entitled to make errors, granted that maybe he even erred,” he said.
In an interview with Asaase News, a former Member of Parliament, Inusah Fuseini said the move by the Roads Minister is a populist one.
“If the minister of roads and highways wanted to do what he did, he should’ve to sort legal advice from the attorney general. This populist move and action will not augur well for a public officer who flouts the law. You need to make rational and legal decisions, decisions based on the legal regime that exists,” he noted.