Kasoa Tuba Junction hawkers kick against closure of tollbooth

 Hawkers at the Kasoa Tuba Junction have expressed displeasure about the closure of the tollbooth on the stretch of the road, saying the situation has rendered them jobless, due to the free flow of traffic.

They are calling on authorities to reconsider the decision of cancelling road tolls until after the yuletide.

The Finance Minister, Mr Ofori-Atta, on Wednes­day while presenting the 2022 budget announced that government had abolished all tolls on public roads and bridges.

The directive took effect on Thursday, November 18, at 12am.

However, the new development, on the contrary, has elated some motorists in the area who described the intensity of the Kasoa traffic as a nightmare.

A 35-year-old teacher told the Ghanaian Times that the fact that he would no longer have to wake up around 3am every day and set off for work, just to avoid traffic at the tollbooth was heart-warming.

“I always wake up very early at dawn so that I can make it to work early. I do not have enough sleep and I always feel tired so if this new development means an end to this traffic nightmare then I am happy about it,” he said.

Hayford Appiah, a taxi driver, said he was sur­prised at the traffic situation when he got to the tollbooth yesterday morning so he had to park his car and speak to a few people around before realising the situation was as a result of a new directive from government.

He said though the cost of tolls would be paid through other means, it was far better to pay without going through any stress.

The hawkers who were spotted along the road expressed their grievances in separate interviews with the Ghanaian Times, saying they should have been given a notice ahead of time.

A 23-year-old bread hawker, Sylvia Ansah, said she had been selling bread at the tollbooth for about four years now after graduating from the Senior High School (SHS) and finding it difficult to enrol in the tertiary institution due to financial restraints.

She lamented that despite several attempts to join the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), she still found herself on the streets because she failed to get enlisted.

“I bought GAF enlistment forms three times but I was never lucky. There are no jobs and I cannot afford tertiary education. I did not fail my WASSCE but the system in this country has failed me. I am managing to fend for myself and my siblings by selling bread here but this has also come to an end today. I don’t know what to do. We are pleading on government to at least wait until after Christmas,” she added.

Another hawker, Rebecca Quaye, a chocolate seller, said she went for a loan of GHC3, 500 to buy chocolates in large quantities ahead of Valentine’s Day celebrations so the closure of the toll would definitely affect her sales.

She said government should have given them a notice instead of suddenly cancelling the operations of tollbooths, adding that if she had known this would happen, she would not have gone for the loan.

“We make a lot of money here because of the high number of people who use this road. Where do I start now? My mother is bedridden and I am the only one providing funds to pay for her medications. This is a very big blow,” she lamented.

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for Bor­tianor-Ngleshie Amanfro Constituency, Sylvester Mensah Tetteh visited the stranded hawkers and assured them of soft loans that would be made avail­able by his outfit, to interested hawkers, to enable them venture into other businesses.

BY RAISSA SAMBOU

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