Reports reveal that the Roads and Transport Committee of Parliament has given approval for the implementation of the controversial mandatory towing levy meant for the national towing project.
The law requires all vehicle owners and motorcyclists will pay compulsory annual fees, tied to the acquisition of road worthy certificate, to cater for towing services.
According to Joy News report, fees per year for both commercial and non-commercial vehicles, range from Ȼ20 to Ȼ 200, depending on tonnage.
Recall that the Road Safety Fee requiring all road users to pay a fixed annual fee which was to take effect July 1, 2017, was suspended following a public outcry over its being oppressive.
The Parliamentary Committee on Roads and Transport has however indicated the necessity to implement the law to avoid the already awarded contract from being abrogated, as well as to forestall an ensuing penalty fee.
Joy News revealed that, the Road Safety Management Company Limited and its allied service providers will enjoy 85% of the charges while the DVLA and Police Service share 5% each. Ministry of Finance, as well as NRSC, will also be allocated 2.5% each from the proceeds.
The Committee however, reached a compromise with the operator, to cede 5% of its share of 85% of the earnings to the National Ambulance Service and National Health Insurance Authority for the treatment of accident victims.
Recommendations of the committee have reportedly been sent to the Transport Minister and implementation is likely to take effect by ending of September, 2017.
National Towing Project
Earlier reports in April revealed that a private company, the Road Safety Management Services Limited (RSMSL), has been awarded the contract to carry out a national towing project in Ghana.
The RSMSL was said to be collaborating with the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and the Ghana Police Service (GPS), to carry out the project. The national towing project is aimed at removing all abandoned and broken down vehicles that culd cause accidents on the roads across the country.
The Operations Manager of the RSMSL, Engr. Kwadwo Osei, had indicated that the towing project will begin in earnest on the 1st of May, 2017. He also said it will be preceded by a pilot phase which commenced on the 1st of April. Engr. Osei disclosed that the service will be free throughout the pilot phase which will run from 1st April to 1st May.
Engr. Osei indicated that via the project, tow trucks, ambulances, motorbikes and the required personnel will be deployed to ensure that every spoilt vehicle is towed out of the road in a maximum of two hours from the time it broke down. He disclosed that about 100 towing trucks are in readiness to be deployed to all regions of the country for the purpose.
Also speaking on the issue, the Communications Manager of RSMSL, Mr Roland Walker, assured that the project won’t fail this time as strong agreements have been reached by the concerned bodies, with all the possible hitches removed out of the way.
Despite all the above assurances given by the concerned bodies three months ago, the said towing programme is yet to commence, owing to the delay in deciding on the national towing levy.
Recall that attempts were made back in 2013, to carry out this national towing project, but disputes between the RSMSL and the NRSC made it not to materialise at that time. This repeating failure has continued to leave our roads with deadly obstacles in form of abandoned and broken down automobiles.
Abandoned/Broken Down Vehicles Nuisance</b
A recent survey by Daily Graphic has once again drawn the attention of the public to the dangers abandoned and broken down vehicles are posing on the country’s roads and highways.
The survey which was carried out on Saturday on the Accra-Cape Coast, Accra-Suhum and Accra-Sogakope roads recorded a total of 77 broken-down or abandoned vehicles comprising 1 private car, 6 commercial uses, 1 taxi cab and 69 trucks on the three highways alone.
It was also noted that some of these vehicles were abandoned in the middle of the road while others have been by the road sides for almost two years.
Accident Statistics in Ghana
The rate of accidents on Ghana’s roads has continued to increase on a daily basis. Records from the Motor Transport and Traffic Directorate (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service reveal that a total of 2,890 accidents have occurred across the country in the first three months of 2017, that is, from January to March.
The figure according to the records, is higher than that of 2016 with 50 accidents, since 2840 were recorded over the same period last year. In all, about 436 deaths and 2,523 injuries were recorded.
Recalling how former Member of Parliament for Akwatia, Dr Kofi Asare, lost his life after ramming his car into a broken-down vehicle along the Nkwakaw road earlier this year, Communications Manager of RSMSL stated that 22% of road accident deaths in Ghana, were caused by unmoved disabled vehicles.
Meanwhile, government has revealed various plans and safety measures aimed at curbing the menace of escalating road accidents across the country.
Aside the towing project, another plan on hand is the use of dedicated traffic cameras to monitor and sanction disobedience to traffic rules which result in accidents.
But the BIG QUESTION remains – which of these plans will indeed come out successful and sustainable???