The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has ordered the Minister for Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako-Atta to immediately withdraw a press release calling for the cessation of collection of road tolls.
The order follows a statement by Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu who called the attention of the House on the development and accused the Minister of Roads and Highways of usurping the powers of Parliament whose enactment birthed the tolls.
“Mr. Speaker, I think we take a serious view of the conduct of the Minister for Roads as it is an attempt to usurp the powers and mandate of this august house. To suggest as if, this country is not governed by law while he is in a hurry to carry the directives of the President, he cannot be in a hurry to usurp the mandate of this house. And be in a hurry to reverse legislation that this august have not so approved.
“Mr. Speaker, it is my submission strongly that the budget itself has not been approved by this house, not its principles or its objectives let alone talk about consequential legislation that may require of him. So Mr. Speaker, in order not to create a society of normlessness, I will have simply said that the Ghanaian public should ignore him because what he is doing is clearly against the letter and spirit of the law,” Haruna added.
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin consequently directed the Minister to withdraw the press statement since Parliament has not yet approved the 2022 budget for any measures in there to take effect.
He stated that in his view the Minister of Roads and Highways action cannot amount to disrespect rather it is incumbent of the House to educate him on the meaning of his action.
“And so until this budget is approved all that is contained in the budget are proposals, we (Parliament) have the authority to approve. They have the authority in pursuance to Article 1, 7, 9 to prepare and lay before the House. So those are policy proposals that are presented before the House, until they are approved, nobody and I mean nobody can start implementing something that doesn’t exist.
“So the Minister being a senior member of this house I think that he might have reacted wrongly and therefore I call on him to honorably withdraw that directive. Failure to do so would be a serious breach of the directive of the Speaker and that would amount to contempt of Parliament,” he warned.
However, the Majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu was not enthused about the directive.
He indicated that Alban Bagbin’s directive cautioning the Minister for Roads he will be cited for contempt of Parliament if he fails to comply as harsh.
Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, though admits the minister erred, argued the move was for the public good.
According to the Suame MP, the announcement of the scrapping of road tolls by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta in his budget presentation resulted in spontaneous commotion at various toll booths, so the directive from the roads minister was to avert any escalation.
Source: Ghana/Starrfm.com.gh/103.5FM/Isaac Dzidzoamenu