Mr Sylvester Tetteh, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bortianor- Ngleshie-Amanfrom, has assured aggrieved hawkers of the Kasoa tollbooth of his support in the form of funding to mitigate their plights.
Addressing the hawkers during a protest at the tollbooth on Thursday, he indicated that he was prepared to fund anyone who wanted to learn any profession of their choice.
The MP also promised to collaborate with the Ga South District Assembly to establish a designated market for them to undertake their activities.
The angry hawkers who had massed up around the tollbooth area, objected to the government’s decision to close down the facility, making a case that it would affect their businesses and visit more hardships on them.
But commiserating with them and allaying their fears, Mr Tetteh said “I am ready to support anybody ready to learn a trade so that they will be relieved of some of the pressures”.
“Those complaining here today are my people and they vote for me, and if they vote for me, I always have to step my foot out and support them. But I want them to know that this new arrangement will benefit the entire nation, including them,” he added.
Justifying the government’s move to cease the collection of road and bridge tolls, the MP advanced that the adverse effect of the traffic jam was dire.
“A woman once told me that she was taking her child to the hospital but she lost the child due to the traffic over here.
“The hawkers are always happy when there is traffic jam because it helps their business. But the people who stay in the traffic are lamenting.
“Government is not stopping anybody from selling here. It is the traffic that brings the market here. But we cannot allow people to stay in traffic because of them,” he told the Ghana News Agency (GNA).
When the GNA arrived at the tollbooth around 8:00hours, it observed that the usual gridlock around the place was virtually nonexistent.
There were no tollbooth attendants in the cubicles, resulting in the free flow of traffic but the heavy police presence scared the hawkers who later dispersed from the area.
It appeared many drivers were not aware of the directive as some drivers slowed down and attempted to pay their toll and the empty cubicles left a few of them confused, while many others sped away in joy.
Some of the hawkers who spoke to GNA lamented that the government had taken their food from their table after voting for it, threatening to vote against the governing party in the next elections.
While some of them were concerned about the education and wellbeing of their children as single mothers, others indicated that they had secured loans to do their business and that the directive would put them in an awkward position.
Another young hawker and a student, Ms Abigail Mensah, said she was doomed because selling at the tollbooth was how she supported herself in school.
“How will I go back to school? I come here every time I am on vacation and on weekends to gather some money for school,” she said.
She, therefore, pleaded with the government to suspend the decision or completely rescind it.
The drivers, on the other hand, were happy about the directive because it had brought them relief.
Mr Ken Ofori-Atta on Wednesday, announced the Government’s decision to abolish road and bridge tolls when he presented the 2022 Budget Statement on the floor of Parliament.
Mr Ken Ofori-Atta told Parliament that the proposal would take effect after the budget had been approved.
However, a statement signed by Mr Kwasi Amoako-Attah, the sector Minister and shared with the Ghana News Agency, said the directive would take effect from 1200hrs on Thursday.