General News of Thursday, 3 August 2017
Cabinet Ministers are locked up in a meeting over the controversial Towing Levy that has divided opinion in the country, Myjoyonline.com has gathered.
Sources say the senior government officials are divided over the levy, with those against it vehemently registering their displeasure.
The levy was drafted by the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration and passed in the previous Parliament to reduce accidents caused by broken vehicles on the country’s roads.
As part of the law, vehicle owners and motorcyclists will be expected to pay compulsory annual fees ranging from GHS20 to GHS200 in a year, for towing services.
The National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) awarded the contract to the Road Safety Management Limited (RSML), a subsidiary of the JOSPONG Group, owned by businessman Joseph Siaw Agyapong.
The towing levy law which was to take effect on July 1, 2017 was greeted with strong opposition from both civil society groups and political opponents, leading to its suspension.
But after a month of consultation with civil society organisations, Parliament’s Transport Committee gave its endorsement to the law on Tuesday.
The Chairman of the Committee, Aye Paye told Joy News’ Parliamentary Correspondent, Joseph Gakpo, an abrogation of the contract signed with RSML will lead to judgment debt, a development he said the Committee is opposed to.
“We couldn’t reverse the issue because it is up to the government to do that; Parliament cannot do that,” he said.
But the opposition to the levy has shown no sign of abating with pro-governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) groups neck deep in their opposition to the law.
NPP’s Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) said it is against the law because the Transport Committee used the “backdoor” to smuggle through the levy. Spokesperson for the group, David Opoku told Evans Mensah on Joy FM’s Top Story Thursday, proper consultation was never done to bring every one on board to accepting the levy.
On its part, the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has implored Ghanaians to disregard the law because it was not formulated with the interest of the citizens in mind.
PPP General Secretary, Murtala Mohammed said government is proposing a solution to a menace that is already in the law book.
“It is not only broken cars that causes accident,” he said, adding “excessive drinking and careless driving” also lead to road carnage. The decision by Cabinet Ministers will determine if the law will see the light of day.