The Center for Transport Security Dialogue (CETSED) has noticed with keen interest the public outcry following the new legislative instrument (LI 2180) on road tow levy passed in 2012 by parliament to be implemented.
The decision to implement the mandatory road tow levy has indeed been met with missed reactions by various stakeholders and the Ghanaian populace in general.
It's quite clear that, the implementation of the legislation is in a limbo considering the fact that many organizations and individuals have fiercely criticized and kicked against the move and it is incumbent on the executive arm of government to consider and make wider consultations with various stakeholders before implementing the law.
Notable among individuals who have largely criticized the move are the chief policy analysts of Ghana Institute of Public Policy Options, Dr Wereko Brobbey and Magnus Lincoln Quarshie (former president of the Ghana institution of engineers) have called on the president to halt the mandatory towing fees. Also a road consultant and executive director of Toptech Transport and Logistics, Mr. Cecil Garbrah described the decision as rubbish.
CETSED believes that the decision to have a towing system in itself is not a bad idea taking into consideration the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) statistics that stipulates that a little over 25% of road accident is caused by abandoned cars on our roads but the problem is the mandatory nature and mood of implementation which would largely monopolize the system.
Mr. Kofi Bentil, the vice president of IMANI Ghana said that "is a ploy by some annoyingly corrupt people to create loot and share in favour of some well established corrupt companies already embroiled in massive frauds". Of course this is nothing but an attempt by the NRSC and its allies to milk dry the pocket and worsen the plight of the already burdened ordinary Ghanaian. Meanwhile the Road Safety Management Services Limited (RSMSL) and its allied companies will be allocated 85% of the funds, Ghana Police Service 5%, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) 5%, NRSC 2.5% while the remaining 2.5% will go to the Ministry of Finance. The question here is on what basis was these percentages arrived at?
The National Vice Chairman of GPRTU Robert Sabarh is widely reported to have said that they will pass the cost to commuters and further ask for a review of the legislation ( peacefmonline.com )
Surprisingly, out of many individuals and organizations that have put in a word or two about this clandestine move, it is only the Road Safety Management Services Limited (RSMSL) company that has been awarded with the contract that sees nothing wrong with the move as espoused by its marketing communication officer, Mr. Roland Walker.
Mr. Walker asserts that Road Safety Management Services Limited (RSMSL) conceived and went through a competitive bidding process contrary to the claim by one Mr. Evans Dzide, a manager of Ruttchen trucks Ghana Ltd that, the concept was presented to NRSC as far back as 2007 at a time when Road Safety Management Services Limited (RSMSL) had not been established which suggests that Road Safety Management Services Limited (RSMSL) stole the concept.
Mr. Dzide further stated that Ruttchen Trucks Ghana Limited has a memorandum of understanding with National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) and cabinet memo dated March 2010 indicating an agreement to implement a mandatory levy for towing service for which the company rolled out a trial version of the project after the chief of staff had accepted their proposal on behalf of the government in 2007.
He alleged that the NRSC being pleased with their work proceeded to get parliament's approval to back the mandatory payment of the levy which was finally passed in 2012.
The account by Mr. Dzide leaves many questions than answers on the minds of many Ghanaians.
1. Did the contract really go through a competitive bidding process as claimed by the marketing communications officer of the Road Safety Management Services Limited (RSMSL)?
2. Is there indeed an element of create, loot and share as perceived by some Ghanaians?
On the basis of all these criticisms, fierce resistance, public outpour and a suspected stealing of concept, it would not just be absurd but also preposterous for the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) and its allies to continue to implement this unpopular decision.
CETSED aiming at bringing finality to this controversial and yet topical issue has called on the various stakeholders holders such as the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), Driver and Vehicle Licence Authority ( DVLA),Road Safety Management Services Limited (RSMSL) and the Ghana Police MTTD and awaits response from their quarters.
Kojo S. A Danquah