NPP Strategists Played Undue Politics with Road Tolling System

Feature Article NPP Strategists Played Undue Politics with Road Tolling System

When he bitterly, albeit diplomatically, complains that he has been a driver’s mate at the Akufo-Addo Jubilee House for all the 7-plus years that he has devotedly served as Vice-President of the Sovereign Democratic Republic of Ghana, the extant Deputy-Governor of the Bank of Ghana who ably assisted Dr. Paul Acquah to redenominate the veritable junk that was the Cedi under the tenure of the late former President Jeremiah “Jerry” John Rawlings-led regime of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), I know just precisely what Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia is talking about, knowing painfully well that the lame-duck President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had adamantly and inadvisably allowed some civically irresponsible blood relatives who did not deserve even a Temporary Visitor’s Permit to Jubilee House to be literally calling the shots on how government policies got executed.

Which is also why when the Oxbridge- and the Simon Fraser-educated crackerjack economist promises to restore the Roads and Highways Tolling System, in the highly likely event of the Walewale native, from the Akufo-Addo-created North-East Region being returned or retained at Jubilee House, come the watershed December 7, 2024 Presidential Election, this time as the substantive and fully in-charge Executive Chief of State, you can be certain that Alhaji Bawumia is not apt to play politics as usual with the management of the country’s fragile albeit quite healthy and robust economy (See “'The road tolling system has to come back, It's a fundamental mistake of gov't to place all road projects on budget' — Bawumia” 5/30/24).

In the afore-referenced Ghana News Agency (GNA) news report right before me, the unsigned or anonymous reporter notes that “Ghana abolished road tolls in 2022[,] in a bid to easing traffic congestion on major roads.” Now, any keen and critical observer of our beloved nation’s political culture fully and perfectly well knows that this was not exactly what happened at the time in question. First of all, the Akufo-Addo government did not abolish road tolls in 2022. Rather, road tolls were abruptly and clearly expediently abolished by the extant Road-Transport Minister, Mr. Kwasi Amoako-Atta, in the runup to the 2020 General Election.

The abolition of the road tolling system, and this writer bitterly complained about this clearly injudicious policy measure as an economic disaster at the time, was not the least bit about any congestion directly or indirectly caused by long waits at tollbooths by motorists. Rather, the abolition of road tolls was in direct response to the patently hairbrained and strategically irresponsible and populist National Democratic Congress’ promise that it intended to significantly ease the purported economic burden on motorists, an economically unwise policy move that was apt to skyrocket government’s budgetary allocation for the maintenance of old roads and the construction of new roads around the country.

A patently gullible and instant-gratification oriented motorist community that scandalously appeared to perceive such intellectually obtuse strategic gimmickry as a godsend had been ominously but correctly envisaged by the incumbent government to be heavily leaning towards voting against the more progressive and social-intervention oriented Akufo-Addo-led New Patriotic Party government. But, of course, it was also absolutely no fault of the conspicuously angry and frustrated motorists and passengers. Rather, the fault lay squarely on the doorsteps of the Minister of Road Transport and the entire Akufo-Addo Administration in not being savvy enough to promptly mount a policy-based counteroffensive, by meticulously and systematically explaining to Ghanaian citizens and voters that there was “absolutely no free lunch” anywhere in even countries with viable and an efficiently run road-transport system, such as the United States of America, Great Britain, France and Germany.

Of course, if time was really of the essence, that is, tollbooth-waiting time, the government could also have introduced the Electronic Toll-Collection System, as is being routinely done right here in the United States of America and has been done for at least a couple of decades now, if Yours Truly remembers accurately. Fortunately, under a tech-savvy Vice-President Bawumia, an efficient toll-collection system could have been easily installed by the use of the Ezzy-Pass or an Electronic-Sensor System or AI Technology, as is being presently done all across the United States, Canada and elsewhere in the technologically advanced countries.

On this occasion, the 2024 Presidential Candidate of the ruling New Patriotic Party is reported to have made his politically sobering observation on the perennially inefficient management of the fiscal aspect of roads and highways by successive governments in the country. Hopefully, Vice-President Bawumia’s clarion call for an immediate radical and a progressive paradigm shift will not become a mere electioneering-campaign fluke or gimmickry. Candidate Bawumia, who is presently on an electioneering-campaign tour of several regions in the country, also reportedly made the preceding remarks while conferring with some Christian religious prelates in the Volta Region. The Presumptive Next President of Ghana also further remarked on the imperative need for the government to significantly expand agricultural production and the country’s tax regime.

We shall be studiously following events on the ground and will not hesitate to provide the 2024 Bawumia Presidential Campaign with the kind of advice that we deem to be appropriate and progressive for the wellbeing of our relatives, friends and neighbors at home, as usual.

*Visit my blog at: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
Professor Emeritus, Department of English
SUNY-Nassau Community College
Garden City, New York
June 8, 2024
E-mail: [email protected]

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Started: 02-07-2024 | Ends: 31-10-2024