The Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) has welcomed the decision by the Roads and Transport Committee of Parliament to okay the implementation of the controversial mandatory towing levy to be imposed on vehicle owners.
It has, however, appealed to the Committee to reduce the levy by 50 per cent since the levy being charged is on the high side.
Under the National Towing Project, owners of motorcylce will pay GHC10 per year, cars with engines capacity less than 2,000CC (less than 2.0) will pay GHC40, buses and passenger commercial vehicles will pay GHC80 while articulated trucks will pay between GHC80 and GHC100 yearly.
Motorists whose vehicle break down on a main road would be required to call 0800 772 772 or 18555 and within an hour, a towing vehicle will arrive to tow the vehicle while it will take within two hours after the call is placed for vehicles which breakdown on highways to be towed.
Though the levy was to take effect from July 1, 2017, it was suspended by the Transport Ministry following public outcry. The move was to allow for more consultations before its implementation.
The Roads and Transport Committee of Parliament upon consultations with the implementers of the project, Road Safety Management Limited (RSML), announced Tuesday it has given the green light for implementation to begin in September 2017.
The Committee explained abrogating the contract which was signed with RSML in 2016 would cause the country judgement debt.
“A contract has duly been signed in 2016…It’s better than abrogating the contract and pay a penalty that may affect the country in future,” chairman of the Committee, Samuel Aye Paye said.
He said the Committee reached an agreement with RSML to cede five per cent of its 85 per cent of its share of charges to the National Health Authority and the National Ambulance Service.
DVLA and Police Service will each take 5 per cent of the each while the Ministry of Finance, as and the National Road Safety Commission will also be allocated 2.5 per cent each from the proceeds.
Commenting on the issue on Onua FM’s Ghana Dadwene on Tuesday, the National Vice Chairman of the GPRTU, Robert Sarbah explained that “It is true. We were invited before the Committee and what we said was that, it is a laudable one and we will not want to shoot down the idea”.
“Some bread winners are lost most of the time through disabled vehicles. Look at the Kotoko accident; if the service was operational, it would not have occurred because the towing vehicle would have towed the disabled vehicle” he observed.
However, Mr. Saebah said the they would wish the amount is reduced by 50 per cent, noting “That was exactly what we told the Committee”.
“We [commercial drivers] cannot raise this quantum of money to tow vehicles if such things happen because drivers of our time do not have such an amount that when such issues happen, we can fall on to use” he said.
“we will accept even 25% but we will still continue to plead for reductions” he added.
By Kweku Antwi-Otoo|Onua 95.1FM|3news.com|Ghana