General News of Friday, 3 March 2017
Government does not have the ability to scrap market tolls imposed on itinerant head porters (kayayei), because there is no national tax or levy imposed on them, hence can only give guidelines to the local assemblies to do so, former Finance Minister Seth Terkper has said.
Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta, in the 2017 budget statement, said the market tolls imposed on kayayei would be scrapped.
But reacting to that, Mr Terkper said the toll was a source of revenue generation for the local assemblies and would have to be scrapped at the assembly level since each assembly charges a different toll.
“There is no national tax or levy on kayayei. It is a local government tax. [Scrapping it] will mean that it will have to be curtailed at each assembly, because remember that there is no uniformity. And so I don’t think the central government has the wherewithal [to scrap it], but it can issue guidelines and directives,” he told Emefa Apawu on 505 on Class91.3FM on Thursday 2 March.
He noted that there was no clear definition of who a ‘kayayoo’ was, adding that the tolls imposed on them was a useful resource for local assemblies, especially those in rural areas.
“What is the definition of a kayayoo? …Are you saying a porter in Accra or Kumasi? Are you saying the truck pushers as well as other forms of porters? Are you saying [the tolls they pay] will go? If they go, what about the rural assemblies? Even in the urban assemblies, these tolls are useful resources for them including market tolls and others, so if you [scrap] the kayayei tolling fee that is charged, are you going to eliminate others? Because [the kayayei] is not only the poverty group” he stated.
He noted that bigger assemblies that have other sources of revenue like the Accra, Kumasi, and Sekondi Takoradi metropolitan assemblies can afford to scrap the toll but other assemblies cannot afford to do so.
He advised that it would be more useful to help the kayayei through various schemes to improve their economic wellbeing.