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General News of Friday, 4 August 2017


No decision taken on controversial towing levy yet – Government

The government has said it is yet to take a decision on the controversial road safety towing services.

The Minister of Transport, Kweku Ofori Asiamah has, in a release, stated the Ministry of Transport is still conducting further consultations and will take a final decision on the new law.

The release follows days of heated debate over the decision to implement a new law that will require all Ghanaian car owners including those who own motor cycles to pay a levy to be used to tow vehicles left in the middle of the road.

Figures from the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) suggest about 25% of fatal accidents are caused by vehicles left in the middle of the road.

The law passed in 2012 with a five year moratorium was to allow vehicle owners and motorcyclists to pay compulsory annual fees, tied to the acquisition of road worthy certificate, to cater for towing services.

The fees per year for both commercial and non-commercial vehicles, depending on tonnage, range from ?20 to ? 200.

The NRSC awarded the contract to the Road Safety Management Limited (RSML) a subsidiary of the Jospong Group owned by Businessman Joseph Siaw Agyapong.

It was originally expected to have taken effect on July1, 2017 but the public criticisms meant the implementation of law would have to be delayed further.

Last week, the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads triggered another round of controversy when it okayed the law, albeit with a few variation.

Per the original law, RSML was required to take 85% of the proceeds to be accrued from the levies paid while the DVLA and Police Service share 5% each. Ministry of Finance, as well as NRSC, will also be allocated 2.5% each from the proceeds.

But the Committee reached a compromise with the operator, to cede 5% of its share of 85% of the earnings to the Ambulance Service and National Health Insurance Authority.

The operator has therefore agreed to pay 2.5% of the accrued amount to the National Ambulance Service while another 2.5 percent will be paid to the National Health Insurance Authority to be used for the treatment of accident victims.

Despite these variations a number of Ghanaians are still not happy with the new law. Some civil society groups, including IMANI, individuals, and political parties are all kicking against the law.

Some officials of the previous NDC government who championed the passage of the law are now kicking against it. Individuals within the governing New Patriotic Party are also kicking against it.

They do not understand why all Ghanaian car owners must be made to pay a levy for peoples’ cars to be towed if they breakdown.

Kofi Bentil of IMANI Africa would rather monies are collected from the individuals whose cars break down on the road than having all Ghanaians pay for the sins of some few institutions who are failing to do their jobs.

The government appears to have taken the endless criticism into consideration.

The Ministry of Transport said in the statement said: “No decision has been taken yet on the commencement of the towing services.

“The ministry is engaged in consultations with various stakeholders including the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Transport whose recommendations have just been received by the Ministry.

“The views of all stakeholders will be considered for an informed decision to be made on the matter.

“Thereafter the ministry’s decision will be communicated to the general public,” the statement said.