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General News of Thursday, 25 November 2021


Parliament must assert its 'countervailing authority' on executive - Gyampo backs Bagbin

Professor Ransford Gyampo play videoProfessor Ransford Gyampo

Professor Ransford Gyampo of the Department of Political Science, University of Ghana, has asked the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Bagbin to continue upholding the constitution and ensure that the Executive is "checked".

His comment follows the Speakers directive asking the Roads Minister to reverse his decision to suspend the collection of road tolls.

2022 Budget

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta presenting the 2022 budget of the government in Parliament announced that motorists who ply public roads nationwide will no longer be required to pay road tolls after the budget has been approved.

"Government has abolished all tolls on public roads and bridges. This takes effect immediately the Budget is approved,” Ken Ofori-Atta said.

Roads Minister's directive

However, prior to the approval of the budget, the Roads Minister in a statement on Monday directed that toll collection at the various toll booths across the country should be halted effective Thursday, November 18, 2021.

"Following the presentation of the 2022 Budget by the Hon. Minister of Finance on behalf of His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Ghana on Wednesday, November 17, 2021, the Ministry of Roads and Highways hereby directs the cessation of the collection of road and bridge tolls at all locations nationwide. This directive takes effect from 12am on Thursday, November 18, 2021,” part of the statement read.

Taken aback by this act from the Minister, the Speaker of Parliament said: "I think that it is proper for us to direct the Minister, a Member of this House, in fact a Senior Member of this House, I think that he might have acted wrongly and therefore I call on him to reverse this decision"

However, he has been criticized with some government communicators insisting that the Roads Minister didn't flout any regulation.

Speaking to this in an interview on Neat FM's Me Man Nti programme, Prof Gyampo said the Speaker was right to call the Minister to order.

If that is not done, the Executive will continue to use Parliament as a "rubber stamp", he said, and urged the Speaker to exercise his powers as provided by the constitution.

"...since 1993, Parliament has been acting as a rubber stamp; being controlled by the executive... the Minister should have followed due process; we're in a democratic era...

"We are used to a Speaker who is so partisan and always in bed with the ruling party... Parliament must assert its countervailing authority on the powers of the executive. The actions of the speaker sit so well with checks and balances and it's good for our democracy," he averred.