Majority Chief Whip in Parliament, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, says the Speaker’s directive to the Roads and Highways Minister to reverse the cessation of the collection road tolls is an error.
He insists the Speaker, Alban Bagbin, does not have the “persona” in this regard making it wrong for him to give such an order as though that is the official position of Parliament.
“Based on standards and the standing orders of the House, the Speaker cannot rule on his own authority and say that he is directing. The Speaker is not above the House, he is not a Member of Parliament, so the Speaker’s ruling is to convey the position of the house. So to start, we think that the Speaker erred in his ruling and he should consider it again”, he told the media.
Mr. Annoh-Dompreh’s comment comes after the Speaker asked the Minister to withdraw his directive for the immediate cessation of the collection of tolls on public roads.
The Roads Minister, Kwasi Amoako Attah called for an immediate halt in the collection of road tolls after the Finance Minister announced the abolishment of same in the 2022 budget in Parliament.
But following a debate on the subject, the Speaker, Alban Bagbin, said the instruction by the Minister was illegal and must be immediately withdrawn.
He argued that although the cessation of tolls on public roads was announced in the 2022 budget, it remains a proposal until Parliament approves it.
Whiledefending the Minister’s move, however, Frank Annoh-Dompreh who is also the Member of Parliament for Nsawam Adoagyiri, said the Speaker had no locus as far as this issue is concerned.
“We are of the view that the Speaker is an arbiter when we are sitting, so anything there should be a directive. Parliament as an arm of government, has to convey a consensus position of the house. On this occasion, we should all recognize that the Speaker has no persona in this matter, and we need to put it to him in a very dignified way. We think that the Speaker failed to convey the sense of the house.”
Alban Bagbin warned that the failure of the Minister to heed the order would put him in contempt of Parliament, but the MP argued that the Speaker must take a second look at his order to avoid any further action from his colleague MPs.
“We are also aware of the options that are available to us if we want to challenge the Speaker – we come by a motion, but we want to put on record that the Speaker erred because the Minister acted in good faith”, he said.