General News of Thursday, 3 August 2017
The National Organiser of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) says the reason that informed the passage of the towing levy law by Parliament was flawed and mischievous.
Kofi Adams said it is never enough to formulate a law to extort money from the citizens under the pretext of clearing broken vehicles on the country’s roads.
He told Evans Mensah on Joy FM’s Newsnite Thursday, he has been opposed to the law from the formative stages to its passage by Parliament last year.
“Our position is clear…it is a nuisance tax [and] it is a levy that must not be allowed to function,” Mr Adams said.
The NDC National Organiser’s comment comes at a time sections of Ghanaians are blaming former President John Mahama’s government for pushing through the 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.
Vehicle owners and motorcyclists are required by the law 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.
In the heat of the opposition, Parliament’s Transport Committee withdrew the law to study it and consult stakeholders in the sector in order to create a ring of support around it.
The law received the endorsement of the Committee on Tuesday with its Chairman, Aye Paye cautioning, an abrogation of the contract signed with RSML will lead to a judgment debt.
He told Joy News’ Parliamentary Correspondent, Joseph Gakpo Wednesday, the Committee, “…couldn’t reverse the issue because it is up to the government to do that.”
“Parliament cannot do that [too],” Mr Paye noted.
But pressure continues to be mounted on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to suspend implementation of the law entirely, with critics threatening to protest if it was not heeded.
Showing no diffidence, the Progressive People’s Party (NPP) has entreated Ghanaians to disregard the law, saying it was not formulated with their interest at heart.
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.
Although its government drafted and ensured the passage of the law, the NDC said it is opposed to the levy because “there is already a law that takes care of collecting vehicles that have been abandoned on the road.”
“I was opposed to it then and I am opposed to it now,” Mr Adams said, adding the state in which the law is currently should not be allowed to be implemented.