Former tollbooth attendants petition Akufo-Addo; demand reintroduction of toll collection
Toll collectors who lost their jobs due to the government’s decision to stop collecting road tolls across the country are asking the government to reintroduce the tolls.
They say reversing the decision will help them regain their jobs.
The collectors, under the Ghana Toll Workers Union, made this known in a petition to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
They said the decision to cease collection of road tolls and their consequent dismissals had left them worse off.
“We, the underlisted workers of the Ghana Toll Workers Union, hereby petition the president of the Republic of Ghana, H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to impress upon Hon. Kwesi Amoako Atta, the minister responsible for Roads and Highways to reconsider re-opening the tolls and recall all affected workers to commence work,” they stated.
“Ever since a decision to close down all toll booths in the country was arrived at, it has had some negative implications on us, the affected workers and the nation at large. It is based on these implications that we humbly request you to, once again, impress upon the Roads and Highways minister to restore road tolls,” the union added.
Among other things, they said, many of them are currently unable to take care of their basic needs because they do not have any other jobs.
They also lamented the delay in payment of their salaries that have been in arrears for months despite assurances.
The union also notified the president that promises of their reassignments are yet to be fulfilled, putting many of them in dire financial stress.
Read the full petition below:
GHANA TOLL WORKERS UNION
PETITION TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA FOR THE RESTORATION OF ROAD TOLLS
June 05, 2022
His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo
President, Republic of Ghana
Dear Mr. President
Following the presentation of the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana by the Hon. Minister of Finance, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, the Ministry of Roads and Highways directed the cessation of the collection of road and bridge tolls effective the midnight of Thursday 18th November 2021.
Whilst we, the Toll workers of Ghana, believe it is within the remit of the Government of Ghana to review or abolish the operations of Tolls in Ghana, we disagree with the manner in which this was carried out. The labour law of Ghana makes it clear for the dismissal of an employee to be fair and in accordance with a fair procedure or the labour act. The act provides grounds for which dismissal of a worker would be deemed as fair, including:
1. The worker is incompetent
2. Lacks the qualification in relation to work for which he or she is employed.,
3. Proven misconduct of the worker.
In the light of the foregoing, we, the underlisted workers of the Ghana Toll Workers Union, hereby petition the president of the Republic of Ghana, H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to impress upon Hon. Kwesi Amoako Atta, the minister responsible for Roads and Highways, to reconsider re-opening the tolls and recall all affected workers to commence work.
Ever since a decision to close down all toll booths in the country was arrived at, it has had some negative implications on us, the affected workers and the nation at large. It is based on these implications that we humbly request you to once again, impress upon the Roads and Highways minister to restore road tolls. Few of these implications are identified below:
• First of all, over 800 workers have lost their jobs since November 2021 after the budget was read. This portends that, taxes from these 800 plus workers have also eluded government. Out of this number, 219 are Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) who have since not been able to cater for their basic needs due to their physical conditions. Moreso, over 50,000 indirect jobs have also been affected.
• Salaries for affected workers have not been paid since January 2022 as promised by the finance minister in the last budget. Considering the current economic crisis coupled with high cost of living, it is extremely difficult to cope with these challenges. Some of our colleagues have lost their lives after we were asked to stay home without any financial support.
• Furthermore, the reassignment of workers that was promised by the minister responsible for finance has not been done. We have for the past seven months been waiting and looking forward to being reassigned but this has not materialized. As the saying goes, “the devil finds work for idle hands” which implies that people who have nothing to do are more likely to get into trouble or commit a crime. The longer we stay home without a job, the more vulnerable we become to crime and other social vices which is a threat to national security.
• Huge loss of revenue to government is another major negative impact associated with the scrapping of road tolls. A total of GHȻ 78 million published as annual revenue generated from toll collection may appear meagre but in reality, we believe it has over the years contributed immensely to financing routine, periodic maintenance and rehabilitation of our public roads.
• In addition to the above, an online survey was conducted on whether to restore the road tolls or not had a total of 5,952 respondents who participated. Out of this number, a total of 99.6% were in support of restoring the road tolls. 98.6 % of the total number were people living in Ghana with 63.7% being males and 36.3% were females. The results from this survey is an indicative of the fact that a greater number of Ghanaians are in support of the restoration of the road tolls.
Owing to the reasons stated above, we deem it appropriate to petition your highly reputable office to intervene in this regard so that we, the affected workers of the Ghana Toll Workers Union, will be reinstated to commence work.
Godspeed, Mr. President. We are grateful for your groundbreaking leadership and the sleepless nights you continue to endure.
Yours in the service for God and Country.
1st vice – Richard Amati
2nd vice – Mariam Kareem
Secretary – Edward Duncan
Assist Secretary – Nurata Jibreel