The government says it has taken note of concerns raised by a section of the public regarding the mandatory towing charges to take effect on July 1 and is taking steps to resolve them.
Deputy Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said there have already been a series of engagements with various stakeholders to see how to deal with some of the concerns.
He said Saturday on Joy FM/Multi TV that government was “picking the various pieces of all the legislation that have to deal with the [tow tax]...to take a second look at it.” From July 1, vehicle owners will be required to pay the mandatory Road Safety Fee each time they renew their road worthy certificate at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA).
Commercial vehicles and taxis will pay GH¢40, mini buses will pay GH¢80, while heavy duty trucks will pay between GH¢80 and GH¢200 annually, depending on their tonnage. Non-commercial vehicles are expected to pay GH¢20, while motorbike owners will pay GH¢10 annually. Some 118 trucks have been acquired by Road Safety Management Services Limited (RSMSL), the private company contracted by the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) for the national towing service.
The charges are to provide reliable towing service so that when vehicles are abandoned on the road the NRSC can ensure that they are swiftly towed. Many road accidents have been caused by speeding vehicles crashing into stationary vehicles. There have mixed reactions to the legislation, although public disapproval seems the fiercest.
Critics disagree that the fee should be mandatory. Others say there were no consultations before the legislation was passed. Vice President of thnk tank, IMANI Centre for Policy and Education, Kofi Bentil, has described the incoming tax as an attempt to steal from Ghanaians. According to him, there are existing laws that mandate Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to provide towing services in their respective jurisdictions.
Chief Policy Analyst at the Ghana Institute of Public Policy Options (GIPPO) Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby on Thursday, has also called on the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, to immediately halt the implementation of the policy.
The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC) has since petitioned the President over the matter.
During discussions about the tax on Newsfile, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said the government is engaging with the relevant stakeholders to see “whether or not there is room to do the necessary maneuvers that will ensure that the problem is solved but is solved in a manner that is generally acceptable to the broader population.”
Meanwhile, Road Safety Management Limited defends that concept, pointing out that a similar system is practised the world over to keep roads safe.