06 August 2017

Towing Levy: Gov’t must reconsider abrogation of one-man contract

Parliament’s Roads and Transport Committee on Tuesday okayed the implementation of the mandatory road tolls.

The Chairman of the Roads and Transport Committee Samuel Aye Paye has explained that an abrogation of the contract would have led to the payment of judgment debt, hence the decision to okay it.

Speaking to Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo he said although they deliberated on the issue, they could not reverse it because Parliament does not have that power, it is only government which can do that. 

“We have made our proposal, government can look at that and take its decision and deal with the consequences, Parliament Committee cannot to that,” he said. 

The public outcry on the matter forced the ministry to suspend its implementation in July to make way for broader consultations on the matter.

The issue was then referred to Parliament’s Roads and Transport Committee for direction on the implementation of the Road Traffic Regulation 2012.

Once Parliament has given the green light on Tuesday, both commercial and non-commercial vehicles, depending on tonnage, will pay a levy ranging from ¢20 to ¢200.

The award of the contract was also an issue of major concern for many but Mr Aye Paye said the operator has agreed to pay 2.5 percent of the accrued amount to the ambulance service.

“The Committee members took time to listen to the discussions that went around and have come out with a proposal. As a matter of fact, our report doesn’t bind the Minister to do anything since it was not a referral from the Speaker,” he said.

According to him, the report has been forwarded to the Minister who will look at the recommendations and take a decision.

Mr Aye Paye said the Committee recommended that the project is “a very good one” and they have considered other stakeholders to champion it but admitted they do not have the capacity to run it.

“We are looking at a company that can give us a tractor that can tow a 32 wheeler articulator track.

“As part of the recommendation, we have asked the contractor absolve other small truck towing system in the contract so that other small scale towing truck services will not be affected or collapse their business,” he explained.

He said the Committee bemoaned the fact that the Transport Ministry and the National Road Safety Commission did not do due diligence by engaging stakeholders in advocacy.

Mr Aye Paye said there should have been an extensive education and sensitization before rolling out the programme, adding, the Committee has charged them to intensify their campaign.

Regarding the amount charged for the service, he said the Committee noticed that the fees dates back to 2014 and reviewing it will affect the contract.

“We have decided the operator takes 85 percent since we do not have the capacity to undertake such a project so we only made proposals,” he said adding that the amount going to the ambulance service is in the right direction.

According to him, the proposal of another 2.5 percent of the amount to be given to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) will help victims to be taken care of before their families come to the hospital. 

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