Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has said Ghana’s access to the international market to borrow is restricted.
Speaking at a town hall meeting on the e-levy in the Volta Region on Friday, 4 March 2022, Mr Ofori-Atta confessed: “I am telling you that because of what we are doing, now, our access to the international market is being curtailed to a certain degree”.
“Now, even when we go, we are going to pay US$500 million over 10 years if I were to issue a billion cedi paper and that is significant and cannot be allowed”, he explained.
At the same even, Mr Ofori-Atta said the scrapping of road tolls has become a problem for the government.
Mr Ofori-Atta said: “The challenge really is: we passed the appropriation very quickly because there was an absolute belief in the direction that we were going and then the politics came to stall the issue of the revenue measure, which is e-levy, and, therefore, the issue of the tolls being disbanded has become a chain around our necks”.
The e-levy was proposed by the 2022 budget to replace the road toll as a revenue stream.
However, there have been fierce opposition to the 1.75 per cent e-levy even after it had been reviewed to 1.5 per cent.
The minority caucus in parliament together with some civil society organisations have strongly kicked against the levy.
Despite the confession of Mr Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Kwasi Amoako-Attah, who, unilaterally issued a statement stopping the collection of road tolls in November 2021 right after the 2022 budget was presented in that same month, recently told parliament, while answering an urgent question from the Ranking Member of the Roads and Transport Committee of Parliament, Kwame Agbodza, that: “Mr Speaker, there are, in total, 38 toll booths across the country”, adding: “There has been no loss of revenue to the Ministry of Roads and Highways since the cessation of the collection of the road tolls”.
Explaining why he stopped the road tolls, Mr Amoako-Attah told parliament on Friday: “Most road users refused to pay road tolls at all the locations with booths throughout the country during that period”, noting: “There was confusion between road users and collectors”.
“In order to save lives and properties at those locations, a directive was issued for the suspension of the collection of tolls”, Mr Amoako-Atta added.