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Towing Levy Faces Stiff Opposition …Groups Raise Concerns

Published in News Thursday, 03 August 2017 08:14

Recommendation by Parliament’s Roads and TransportCommittee‘s   for the passage of the now controversial Towing levy has been greeted with stiff opposition from various quarters.

 

Some identifiable groups including IMANI, Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) have all expressed reservations about the policy.

Under the National Towing Project, owners of motorcycle will pay GHC10 per year, cars with engines capacity less than 2,000CC (less than 2.0) will pay GHC40, buses and passenger commercial vehicles will pay GHC80 while articulated trucks will pay between GHC80 and GHC100 yearly.

Motorists whose vehicle breaks   down on a main road would be required to call a toll free number and within an hour, a towing vehicle will arrive to tow the vehicle while it will take within two hours after the call is placed for vehicles which breakdown on highways to be towed.

Though the levy was to take effect from July 1, 2017, it was suspended by the Transport Ministry following public outcry. The move was to allow for more consultations before its implementation.

The Roads and Transport Committee of Parliament upon consultations with the implementers of the project, Road Safety Management Limited (RSML), announced Tuesday it has given the green light for implementation to begin in September 2017.

The Committee explained abrogating the contract which was signed with RSML in 2016 would cause the country judgment debt.

“A contract has duly been signed in 2016…It’s better than abrogating the contract and pay a penalty that may affect the country in future,”  Deputy Ranking member of the  Road and Transport  Committee, Yusif Ali  Jahjah  told  Accra based Atinka Fm in an interview .

He said the Committee reached an agreement with RSML to cede five per cent of its 85 per cent of its share of charges to the National Health Authority and the National Ambulance Service.

DVLA and Police Service will each take 5 per cent of the each while the Ministry of Finance, as and the National Road Safety Commission will also be allocated 2.5 per cent each from the proceeds.

However   the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) has threatened to embark on a demonstration exercise to express their displeasure on the implementation of the   levy.

Speaking to Ekourba Gyasi on Atinka AM Drive, Chief Executive Officer for the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) Duncan Amoah explained that parliament is assuming a position that they should not have.

 

According to him, the committee has disregarded the views of millions of Ghanaians who spoke against the levy by agreeing to enforce the mandatory towing levy. He explained that most driver unions have already purchased towing machines only to be told to pay a mandatory towing levy, “What should they do with the ones they have already purchased”, he asked.

”They should be prepared for series of demonstrations since they are bent on implementing the mandatory towing levy”

“There are existing road safety laws which if enforced will render the collection of the mandatory towing levy irrelevant”, he fumed

But the GPRTU is however   appealing for a reduction in the levy by 50 per cent since the levy being charged is on the high side.

Commenting on the issue on Onua FM’s Ghana Dadwene on Tuesday, the National Vice Chairman of the GPRTU, Robert Sarbah explained that “It is true. We were invited before the Committee and what we said was that, it is a laudable one and we will not want to shoot down the idea”.

“Some bread winners are lost most of the time through disabled vehicles. Look at the Kotoko accident; if the service was operational, it would not have occurred because the towing vehicle would have towed the disabled vehicle” he observed.

However, Mr. Sabah said   they would wish the amount is reduced by 50 per cent, noting “That was exactly what we told the Committee”.

Aside   the  myriad opposition  facing the  towing levy in the traditional  media , Social media  has also  gone agog with  the  issue ,with  some notable  personalities  who   enjoy massive  following  on social media platforms like twitter and facebook leading the assault  against the policy . notable  personalities like Bright  Simons  and  Citizen  Kofi  Bentil ,  of IMANI , Manasseh Awuni  of the Multi Media Group ,Mabel Aku Baneseh of  the Daily Graphic ,Charles Takyi  Boadum  of the Daily Guide and  Francis Kennedy  Ocloo of the  facebook  Awareness  Army  are among those singing the chorus of  disapproval for the policy . They  are questioning the basis for which the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) awarded  the Contract to the Road Safety Management  Services limited (RSML) a subsidiary of the Jospong Group owned by Businessman Siaw Agyapong .

Among the various comments this paper   gleaned from the Facebook walls of   this personalities includes;

“Government of Ghana is well advised not to shove a mandatory levy in support of a monopoly towing operator down the long suffering Ghanaian throat”.

-Bright Simons, Imani

“The Compulsory Towing levy has been approved by our MP’s .What annoys me is broken down vehicles will remain on the roads until owners   clear them. As for the cash, it will flow for the collector! tweaaaaaa!!!!.

Aku baneseh – Daily Graphic.

‘The jospong group or let me say zoomlion claim or may indeed have the expertise to run the carv towing levy,but government must also find out why a good number  of Ghanaians are up in arms against they being awarded the contract .I don’t think their concerns are merely borne out of sheer hatred; there may  actually be something in the soup .Sometimes it pays to listen to the voice of the people than just delight in satisfying  the whims of a few”

“This towing levy would come and bite NPP if they push it through especially with the involvement of jospong group of zoomlion fame; just mark my words!

Daakyehene  Katakyie Okofotakyi (Charles Takyi Buadu ) -  Daily Guide .

 

“President Akuffo Addo will be worse than President Mahama if he passes with this fraudulent tow levy “. –Manasseh Azure Awuni – Multi Media Group,  Joyfm .

“Tow levy was already a law! It was just very bad law! No smart leader wanted to implement it. NDC doged and NPP dodged”.

“Parliament didn’t approve the tow levy!!  They just run from it   !!! Dear journalists please get the narratives right!!

Citizen Kofi B Bentil –IMANI.

But Communications Manager for the  National Road Safety Commission  ,Kwame Koduah  Atuahene has been very swift  with his response to these  social media  “goons’  kicking against  the policy  .  In quick rebuttal to Mabel Aku Baneseh of the Daily Graphic’s post he responded as follows;

“Hasten slowly  ...the future is unknown .Parliament has requested that a biannual performance report on the operations should be submitted through the Minister of Transport  for as long as journos like you hold them accountable ,not sure this is reckless or…let us be positive about the future “.

Mr. Atuahene has also  put up a spirited defense  of the  towing  policy on traditional  Media  too , on various  platforms  he had had to speak  he maintains that : ‘this project has gone through all the necessary benchmarks “as  provided by the law.

“The problem is there; the government may not have the resources to deal with the problem; the private sector is there but it comes with a cost he said.

It is the hope of Mr. Atuahene that the public will comply with the new regulation in order to reduce the number of road crashes caused by abandoned vehicles.

 

The latest recommendation from the committee on Roads and Transport shows how important the need for the implementation of the Towing levy, to help curb the carnage on Ghana’s roads and as per the committee’s recommendation, it’s our hope that the various stakeholders will do the necessary consultation and Education so that the confusion surrounding the implementation of the policy will be put to rest.

Read 703 times Last modified on Thursday, 03 August 2017 08:16

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