… Says its implementation is premature
Road Transport Consultant Cecil Garbrah has urged the government to as a matter of urgency review its decision on the implementation of the controversial tow tax, which is scheduled to take effect across the country on July 1, this year.
According to him, the implementation of the new tow tax by the government is premature, considering the various challenges bedevilling the country’s road and transport sector.
Speaking to this paper, Mr. Garbrah, Executive Director at Toptech Transport & Logistics, insisted that although there are some good roads in the country, majority of them lack the basic road safety signs, while some of them are riddled with huge pot holes that make travelling on such roads very daunting.
Debunking the assertion that most accidents on our roads are caused by over speeding and that it contributes over 80 % to road accidents in the country, Mr. Garbrah claimed that, according his consultancy statistics available, 80 % of the road accidents happens as a result of certain human factors, 5% can also be attributed to the engineering of the road, 5% of it could be as a result of mechanical errors before another towing which will also have 5%.
“The available statistics shows that over speeding is one of the major factors contributing to the massive accidents on our roads and this is mainly a human factor, which is pegged at 80%. Considering the vehicle population which currently stands at two million and the number of accidents that happens, last year alone recorded 13,000 accidents and in all these 17, 000 vehicles were involved so implementing towing service is premature and that can’t happen now because there is so much indiscipline on our roads,” he stressed.
He further expressed worry over the fact one company has been awarded such a national contract to effect such a service and intimated that Ghanaians should not allow this to happen since there are so many challenges to deal with within the road and transport sector of the country.
From July 1, this year, vehicle owners will be required to pay the mandatory Road Safety Fee each time they renew their roadworthy certificate at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA).
Commercial vehicles and taxis will pay GH¢40, mini buses will pay GH¢80, while heavy duty trucks will pay between GH¢80 and GH¢200 annually, depending on their tonnage. Non-commercial vehicles are expected to pay GH¢20, while motorbike owners will pay GH¢10 annually. Some 118 trucks have been acquired by Road Safety Management Services Limited (RSMSL), the private company contracted by the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) for the national towing service.
The charges are to provide reliable towing service so that when vehicles are abandoned on the road the NRSC can ensure that they are swiftly towed.
Many road accidents have been caused by speeding vehicles crashing into stationary vehicles.
Following the information about the implementation of the new tow tax there have been several calls from a cross-section of Ghanaians across the country’s political divide and Civil Society Groups, including the Ghana Institute of Public Policy Options (GIPPO), the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) have all raised their voices to condemn the government move.
Anti-corruption campaigner, Sydney Casely-Hayford, has described the National Road Safety Commission’s planned mandatory towing fee for all motorists as unnecessary.
He explained that the programme is an unnecessary arrangement implemented on an individualistic basis to benefit only persons whose vehicles break down along the road.
“This is a totally unnecessary arrangement. I am not prepared to be forking out money so that someone who is careless enough to leave their truck by the roadside makes me pay for it to be towed. I pay my insurance as an individual person and if I have to make a claim on my insurance company, I go and make my claim,” he said.
The Deputy Minority Leader, James Avedzi Klutse, had also backed calls for the implementation of a mandatory vehicle towing fee to be halted.
He had argued that since majority of Ghanaians who are targets of the programme are kicking against it, it should be withdrawn.
“[The move should be suspended, since] the genuine and good citizens will be paying for recalcitrant citizens who do not want to obey the law…If it gets to the implementation and everybody is against it then it should be withdrawn,” he said.