General News of Tuesday, 1 August 2017
The Roads and Transport Committee of Parliament has given approval for the implementation of the controversial mandatory towing levy to be imposed on 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.
As part of the law, vehicle owners and motorcyclists will pay compulsory annual fees, tied to the acquisition of road worthy certificate, to cater for towing services.
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.
Joy News’ Parliamentary Correspondent, Joseph Opoku Gakpo reported Tuesday, August 1, 2017, the committee upon deliberations recommended the implementation of the law.
According to the reporter, Chairman of Roads and Transport Committee, Samuel Aye Paye says an abrogation of the contract would have led to the payment of judgement debt, hence the decision to okay it.
“We couldn’t reverse the issue because it is up to the government to do that; Parliament cannot do that. 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,” Mr Aye Paye told Joseph.
The Chairman said: “The Minister is to look at the report and then listen to the recommendations in the report and then he would decide whether to continue with the project or not.”
The Road Safety Management Company Limited and its allied service providers will enjoy 85% of the charges 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.
He, however, said 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.
The recommendations of the committee have been sent to the Transport Minister and implementation is likely to take effect by ending of September 2017.
The Committee has charged the NRSC to embark on wide sensitisation and awareness programmes ahead of the scheduled implementation date.