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04 August 2017

Tow levy: Cracks deepen as participants at a public forum fail to reach consensus

Participants at a public forum held on Thursday evening to discuss the controversial tow levy failed to reach a consensus on the way forward. 

While a representative of the Ghana Police Service backed the mandatory towing fee, the Ghana Tankers Drivers Association and others mounted a fierce opposition during the forum.

During the discussion at the forum that was held at the Fiesta Royale Hotel in Accra, Superintendent Adu Boahen argued that 21% of road deaths are attributable to abandoned vehicles dangerously situated on roads.

“We all have to come together to fight this problem…we as police will be very happy and grateful to get support either from the government or from the private sector to assist us to clear our roads and make our roads safer,” he said.

However, the Ghana Tanker Drivers Association vowed not to pay the levy, announcing that members of the Association will embark on a demonstration when implementation starts.

The spokesperson for the Ghana Committed Drivers Association, Charles Danso, says the Association is currently collecting signatures to push for the repeal of the law.

Controversial law passed

The Roads and Transport Committee of Parliament recently gave its backing for the implementation of the towing levy to be imposed on all vehicle owners.

The law which was to take effect July 1, 2017, was suspended to enable the Transport Ministry to hold stakeholders engagements, following the massive public disapproval it received.

The National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) introduced the service in order to rid the country’s roads of broken down vehicles that are abandoned and which cause accidents.

Critics say payment of the levy should not be made mandatory and should not be contracted to only one private company – Road Safety Management Limited (RSML).

Under the mandatory towing regime drivers whose cars break down on the road will be required to pay between 20 to 200 cedis to RSML.

Ace Ankomah

Ace Ankomah

Poor legislation

A Private legal practitioner, Ace Anan Ankomah, has called for changes to be made to the law.

Ace Anan Ankomah believes, the law “could have been richer and more acceptable” if more engagements were done prior to it coming into force.

Read more: Law on mandatory towing fee planned; plotted – Ace Ankomah

NDC’s surprise U-turn

Many civil society groups have kicked against the law, including pro-New Patriotic Party (NPP) pressure group the Alliance for Accountable Governance which has given government 14 days to abort the contract or face coordinated street protests.

However, in a surprise turn of events, the opposition National Democratic Congress is also kicking against the implementation of the controversial mandatory tow levy although the policy was drafted and approved by the party’s own government last year.

Kofi Adams

Kofi Adams

But NDC National Organiser, Kofi Adams, says it does not matter if his party drafted the law. 

According to him, what matters should be public sentiments.

“This tax is a nuisance tax. It is a levy that must not be allowed to function in the manner in the form that it takes. It is a way of fleecing already suffering Ghanaians,” he told Joy News.

The Progressive People Party (PPP) is meanwhile asking the public to defy the law if the government decides to go ahead with its implementation.

Joy News has learnt that there was a cabinet meeting of government ministers Thursday evening on the issue, however, Government is yet to make a final decision.

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