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Bright Philip Donkor: The mandatory tow levy won't solve the problems on our roads

Ghana is struggling to disentangle itself from the shackles of road carnage. If this not true, why are people dying needlessly through fatal vehicular accidents on the country's major roads? Statistics available have been horrifying and the death toll very heavy. No one needs a position from the government before contributing to national development. This is why, I'm using this piece to channel my strength to helping build and solve the problem of our country.

In the year 2017, the Akufo-Addo government stopped the fraudulent towing levy. He deserved some credit! Why will the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) want to bring it back instead of using their brains to solve the problem. They're relying on procurement, which won't solve it. The re-introduction of the road tow levy by the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) as part of measures to improve safety on the country’s roads is fraudulent. 

The NRSA's move to implement a law that imposes a mandatory levy on all owners and persons in charge of motor vehicles, for the purpose of towing broken down or disabled vehicles on the roads won't solve the carnage on our roads. Unfortunately, close to 800 lives have been claimed through accidents in the first quarter of 2021, according to data available to the Ghana Police Service. 

Stationary broken-down vehicles in more ways than one contributes to these accidents. 

I believe that the broken-down vehicle was not there because there weren't towing vehicles. It wasn't there because the owner could not pay for towing. It was there because the law enforcement authorities who are supposed to deal with such recalcitrant vehicle owners are asleep. Asking every vehicle owner, including motorbikes, to pay mandatory towing levies every year to Jospong won't solve the problem. 

Vehicles get broken on our highways on daily basis and instead of them to tow it off from the road to their closest yard so that the owner or driver would later come there to fix the problem and also pay for towing and parking, they're here talking about mandatory towing levy. Begin to impose hefty fines, prosecute those who leave their broken-down vehicles on our roads, and the problem will go away. One cannot see and use procurement as the solution to all of Ghana's problems.

The NRSA can equally tow such abandoned vehicles away, and require owners to pay for the towing fee before release. It doesn't have to apply to everyone.

The president, please your good office to let the JOSPONG tow these broken-down cars. The car owners would then pay the levy to have their cars released. That way, owners of broken-down cars who may not immediately have cash on them for towing services would have been helped and the road made be free and safe for other users.

The idea of having an efficient towing service isn't bad. However, the problem stems from our politicians vowing to give such contract to one man (the Jospong group) at the expense of the many private towing truck operators. We can't have one man hijack every business opportunity and share with his cronies in both government and opposition. 

We have thousands of private operators who can equally deliver the services if they can be properly regulated and paid timely. These operators could be grouped and registered as business entities within their districts and operate under supervision of their respective local assemblies and the Police MTTD. Trucks can be stationed at designated locations just like the National Ambulance Services, to offer their services. This lazy approach of collecting levies to enrich one businessman and his political friends is not a step in the right direction. 

The entire issue needs to be repackaged with proper consultations undertaken in breadth and in depth. It's high time, the nation accepted the responsibility for failing to apply the needed resources in dealing with the actual causes of road accidents. The Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD), the Ghana Private Roads Transport Union (GPRTU) and other allied road safety regulatory authorities should help bring back discipline on our roads. Let's maintain sanity on our road network, safeguard our human capital for accelerated socio-economic development of mother Ghana. 

The author, Bright Philip Donkor won the Best Article Writer for African Journalist for Economic Opportunity Training (AJEOT-2020) organized under the auspices of the Institute of Liberty and Policy Innovation (ILAPI). He’s a Young Activist, Social Commentator, Columnist and student at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ).

Writer's email: bpdonkor@gmail.com




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