thoughts of a native

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Beneath the patina of modernity ours essentially still remains a superstition-ridden society – full of individuals with mindsets firmly mired in the medieval era. Ghanaians are such an extraordinary people – in the 21st century ICT age, many Ghanaians, including even some very well-educated ones, are ascribing the recent spate of fatal road accidents across the country, to “dark spiritual forces.” Hmmm, Ghana – eyeasem oo!

It is a real pity that precious few people in Ghana seem to see the nexus between vehicular accidents and the astronomical cost of new spare parts, the near-impossible cost of servicing and repairing vehicles regularly, as well as the unfortunate lack of standards in our indiscriminate importation of used spare parts (including even used tyres, incredibly) from overseas. Yet, they are all things that society ought to do something about – if we are to halt the unacceptably high rate of road accidents in our country.

There are many companies in Ghana representing the main motor manufacturers of the world in the local market. Since the brands of vehicles that those companies import into the country are supposed to be serviced at regular intervals, the agents of the motor manufacturers in Ghana are required by their agreements with the manufacturers they represent here, to stock sufficient spare parts for those vehicles, and have adequate workshop facilities to service them locally.

Perhaps in trying to discover the various causes of accidents in our country, we should find out just how many vehicle owners in Ghana, regularly service their vehicles in the workshops of the recognized importers of the make of car they drive – and how that impacts those tragic accidents.

We should also try and find out the reasons why so many vehicle owners in Ghana appear to be unable to afford the after sales services’ of the importers of their make of vehicle – and see if something can be done to lower those costs to encourage vehicle owners to service their vehicles regularly.

There are many vehicle owners who feel that it is an outrage that the agents of motor manufacturers in Ghana, charge such astronomical sums for new spare parts, as well as for the servicing and repairing of vehicles in their workshops – and accuse them of wanton profiteering.

Perhaps the time has now come for Ghana to follow the example of the European Union (EU) and ban the signing of exclusive agency agreements for the representation of motor manufacturers in Ghana.

In a sense, it could even be argued that those exclusive agency agreements, which virtually all the Ghanaian vehicle importers enter into with motor manufacturers, amount to monopolies – in what is supposed to be a free market environment. If they are actual monopolies, then why should that be so?

Why are Ghanaian politicians not complaining about the clear abuse by some vehicle importers, of the privilege granted them by the state, to import motor vehicles into Ghana for sale to the general public?

Should the relevant state agencies not act to find out if the importers of vehicles into Ghana are more or less operating as members of a cartel fleecing the vehicle owners whose cars they service – and consequently abusing the privilege allowed them to import vehicles into our country to sell for such vast profits?

Would it not be infinitely more sensible to break their monopoly, and allow other companies in Ghana too to engage in the business of importing cars into our country – with the blessing of the major motor manufacturers? Surely, in so doing, competition in the industry will bring down the unacceptably high cost of new vehicles and spare parts – as well as the servicing and repairing of vehicles in our country?

Perhaps when that time finally comes, it might be possible, for example, for the various road transport unions in Ghana, such as the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), to strike long-term deals with a number of such companies to service and repair the vehicles of their members in their workshops.

It might very well be that with a great deal more well-maintained private cars, commercial buses, and cargo trucks on our roads, God will finally listen to the prayers of religiously-inclined Ghanaians – and all of us will then begin to notice the spate of road accidents in our country abating somewhat (“dark spiritual forces” not withstanding). A word to the wise…

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