General News of Monday, 7 August 2017
Coalition Against Mandatory Road Towing Levy (CAMROTOWL) has kicked against the yet-to-be implemented road towing levy.
The group, which comprises National Union of Petroleum Tanker Drivers (NUPTD), Chamber of Petroleum Consumers –Ghana (COPEC), Ghana Committed Drivers Association (GCDA), General Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union (GPCWU), Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), Movement for Social Justice (MSJ), and the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) found the decision by Parliament okaying the towing levy as distasteful .
The Coalition in a statement signed by its representatives and issued to the media over the weekend said “we have come together in a single purpose to protest Parliament’s decision for not only passing a law but the “gruesome attempts” to now enforce same by compelling vehicle owners to pay a mandatory towing levy due to be charged every year against each and every road user.”
According to the group, current existing road safety laws, if enforced, would lead to much safer roads for all than simply imposing a mandatory levy on all vehicle owners.”
The statement noted that it was high time the state accepted responsibility for failing to apply the needed resources in dealing with the actual causes of road accidents on “our roads.”
Most of these accidents, the statement said, were largely preventive, and that half the problem, if not virtually all of it, would be solved when appropriate measures were taken.
“It must be noted that one does not need to be a civil engineer to understand that poor road conditions such as steep pot holes, lack of adequate and lack of appropriate road indicators or signs, street lights, missing guardrails, erosion, and faulty traffic lights design are some of the major causes of road accidents in Ghana,” it pointed out.
To this end, the Coalition was of a firm belief that the performance of the various government agencies responsible for providing proper road defence measures such as signage, lighting, road and pavement markings, signals and traffic control devices, as well as ensuring that the roads are safe for drivers and pedestrians were imperative.”
Agencies of state tasked with ensuring these safety measures, the statement said, cannot go to sleep and expect that “this mandatory towing levy shall become the magic wand to the deep-seated problems leading to preventable loss of lives on our roads.”
The Coalition, therefore, reminded government of its responsibility to design, build and maintain safe roads with appropriate lay byes, rest stops and parking spaces along highways.
“It is extremely disturbing that, the best, the framers, and proponents of this unpopular mass surcharging policy could do to ameliorate the already worsening road conditions to the public is imposing a mandatory levy on every driver for the apparent offence of a few.”
…As stated earlier, we already have sufficient laws and sanctions for drivers who leave their vehicles or trailers in dangerous positions in our Road Traffic Act – 2004 (Act 683), and the Road Traffic Regulations – 2012 (L.I. 2180),” the Coalition indicated.
It, therefore, found it pointless reinventing the wheel.
“We cannot stress on only police enforcement of the law; while neglecting the important role of other state institutions like the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA), Departments of Urban and Feeder Roads, Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority (DVLA), and the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) which must all be proactively, more involved in the process of ensuring general safety on our roads,” the statement said.
The Coalition thus cautioned government against any attempt to impose any levy which seeks to milk and jeopardise drivers.
“We shall fiercely resist this in all legal ways possible,” it warned.
“We believe leadership has not adequately considered the real preventive solutions but swiftly moving to another phase; the corrective phase, with the sole aim of surcharging and collecting monies whiles ignoring the very pertinent issues of why and how these vehicles are abandoned on our roads.
It disclosed that a process of collecting “yentua”‘ signatures from well-meaning Ghanaians against this extortionist levy has commenced and will go across the country for the next couple of days awaiting the announcement of a total scrapping of the policy; failure of which shall result in mass protests and demonstrations in two weeks from today, Monday, August 7, 2017.
However, it said, “the coalition remains open to ideas and signing on of all progressive forces and organisations, individuals and institutions as well as public strong-willed individuals against open extortion and wastage estimated to cost Ghanaians over GH¢150 million in just the first year.”