The national towing project which has over the years recorded repeated failures has once again failed owing to the controversy over the mandatory national tow levy.
Initial fears looming over the possibility commencing and sustaining a towing programme in Ghana has been confirmed as the project is currently facing from partial to total abandonment.
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This is as a result of government’s inability to arrive at a consensus on the annual mandatory tow levy policy which have been sparking outrageous public controversy since its approval.
Owing to the massive criticisms against the mandatory national tow levy policy, government has decided that towing services will be paid for by owners of the broken down vehicles.
The Senior Minister, Osafo Marfo made the disclosure during a meeting with Towing companies in Accra on Thursday, September 7.
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Mr. Marfo at the meeting, instructed the companies to go and register their services with the Transport Ministry in order to commence work, making it clear to them that there is no way forward with the initially agreed national tow levy.
“Today we will end up asking you to go and register the services you provide…because this policy which was supposed to start has been stopped.
The Senior Minister went ahead to explain that the towing project is very necessary and cannot be done without, but since the collective payment would no longer work, those who need and receive the services should pay for it.
“There is the need to provide that service so we are asking those who have the capacity to provide the service to register through the appropriate ministry and provide the service to those who need it, and those who receive the services to pay for it,” Mr. Marfo explained.
He also assured the companies that government is ready to provide them with any support they would need. However, the towing service providers in response, expressed reluctance in accepting the new development, citing the fact that the method had failed in previous trials.
From the foregoing, it is being perceived that the towing project would once again not see the daylight.
Several futile attempts have been made in the past to put in place a sustainable towing program across the country.
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 the time.
This year, another fresh and enthusiastic effort was made starting from April, to commence the project once again, with stakeholders giving strong assurances that it will never record a failure this time around.
The contract was awarded to the Road Safety Management Services Limited (RSMSL), a subsidiary of private business magnate, Joseph Agyapong’s Jospong Group of Companies.
Per the contract, the RSMSL was to collaborate 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 targeted at continuous removal of all abandoned and broken down vehicles on the country’s roads.
To fund the project, Roads and Transport Committee of the Parliament approved a national tow levy policy which requires an annual mandatory tow fee from all commercial and non-commercial vehicles, ranging from ¢20 to ¢200, depending on tonnage.
Implementation of the policy will see the RSMSL and its allied service providers garner 85% of the charges, 5% going to the DVLA and GPS each, and the NRSC and Finance Ministry receiving 2.5% each from the proceeds.
But the law sparked off a massive public outrage, leaving the government with no better option than to withdraw it. Not only were the public incensed by the mandatory-for-all levy, many were also very uncomfortable with the fact that the questionable Jospong Group is involved in the project.
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