General News of Monday, 7 August 2017
Prominent civil society organisations and workers’ unions have joined forces to protest the passing of a law to compel vehicle owners to pay a mandatory tow levy and to push for the repeal of the law.
The Coalition Against Mandatory Road Towing Levy(CAMROTOWL) is made up of the 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).
A statement issued by CAMROTOWL says there already exists very good road safety laws which when enforced will lead to much safer roads.
“It is high time the state accepts responsibility for failing to apply the needed resources in dealing with the actual causes of road accidents on our roads. Most of these accidents are largely preventive, and that half the problem if not virtually all of it will be solved when appropriate measures are taken,” the coalition said in a statement.
General Secretary of ICU, Solomon Kotei, told Joy News the levy will add to already high bills being paid by vehicle owners.
Parliament recently gave backing for the implementation of the controversial 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 stakeholder 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.
Below is a statement issued by the coalition on Sunday, August 6 announcing their campaign.
COALITION AGAINST MANDATORY ROAD TOWING LEVY (CAMROTOWL)
The National Union of Petroleum Tanker Drivers (NUPTD), The 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) have come together in a single purpose Coalition to protest Parliament’s decision in 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.
The Coalition believes there currently exists very good road safety laws which when enforced will lead to much safer roads for all and that simply imposing a mandatory levy on all vehicle owners cannot be the solution to the carnage on our roads.
It is high time the state accepts responsibility for failing to apply the needed resources in dealing with the actual causes of road accidents on our roads. Most of these accidents are largely preventive, and that half the problem if not virtually all of it will be solved when appropriate measures are 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.
The Coalition is 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 are imperative.
Agencies of state tasked with ensuring these safety measures are in place 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.
We wish to remind government that it has a duty to design, build and maintain safe roads with appropriate lay byes, rest stops and parking spaces along highways.
Achieving these out of a consensus and joint efforts on the part of both government and the motoring public should be the way forward instead of heaping every burden on the already overburdened citizenry.
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).
There is clearly no point reinventing the wheel. We cannot stress on only police’ enforcement of the law; whiles neglecting the important role of other state institutions like the Ghana Highway Authority, 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.
We wish to caution government against any attempt to impose and enforce this extornist levy which seeks to milk and jeopardize drivers. We shall fiercely resist this in all legal ways possible.
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.
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.
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 Ghc150million in just the first year.
For and on behalf of the Coalition:
Duncan Amoah, COPEC Ghana
Nana Ofori Owusu, PPP
Charles Danso, GCDA
William Adarkwa, NUPTD
Solomon Kotei, ICU
Bernard Owusu, GPCWU
Paa Kow Ackon, MSJ