General News of Friday, 4 August 2017
The battle line appears drawn with civil societies, political opponents and pro-NPP pressure groups threatening massive demonstration, if government goes ahead to implement the controversial towing levy.
The President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government continues to come under pressure to suspend the law that has divided opinion in the country.
Vice President of governance think-tank, IMANI-Ghana, Kofi Bentil said the law does not pass an “intelligent veto” for it to warrant reconsideration by the government.
The legal practitioner told Emefa Appawu on Joy FM’s Top Story Friday, “There is no way you can call yourself a listening government and at the same time say that you are thinking about this law.”
Mr Bentil’s comments come minutes after the Transport Ministry issued a statement that it will engage comprehensively stakeholders before taking the decision on the new law.
The law was passed by the sixth Parliament in 2012, with a five-year fallow period which ended in 2017. It was expected to take effect on July 1, 2017.
As part of the law, vehicle owners and motorcyclists are required 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.
But the levy came under heavy criticism from both civil society groups and political opponents, leading to suspension of its implementation.
Parliament’s Transport Committee withdrew the law when opposition peaked to study it and consult stakeholders in the sector.
The Committee endorsed it on Tuesday, with a claim that an abrogation of the contract between government and RSML will lead to a judgment debt.
President Akufo-Addo held a Cabinet meeting last night to dilate on the levy but the Transport Ministry said government has made no decision yet on the law.
“The views of all stakeholders will be reconsidered for an informed decision to be made on the matter,” the statement added.
But Mr Bentil said government does not need to think about the law because it has proven to be an “insensitive” one.
He said it will be bad for government to go ahead with the law despite the backlash it has suffered in the hands of Ghanaians.
Contributing to the discussions, Deputy NPP General Secretary, Nana Obiri Boahen said he will join pressure group, Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) to stage a demonstration if the law is implemented.
“It is a bad policy especially when monopoly has been given to one person,” he said, adding he will not be parochial as other politicians to blindly support the law.
“I will join AFAG when the time comes,” he added.