The government says a directive requiring owners of disabled vehicles to pay for their towing does invalidate the law mandating vehicle owners to remove all obstacles from the road.
Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid, stated on Joy FM Friday, that the “plan as it exists now remains”.
The policy remains that “Vehicles [must be] removed [and] owners should be surcharged,” Mr. Hamid told Super Morning Show host, Kojo Yankson.
The government was compelled to abandon the implementation of the LI 2180, which mandated vehicle owners to mandatorily pay an annual levy at the point of renewing roadworthy certificates, to cater for towing services.
The decision to ditch the policy was preceded by huge public disapproval of the public over the decision of the implementing agency, National Road Safety Commission to award the contract to a private firm, Road Safety Management Services Limited and other allied agencies.
Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo, at a meeting with owners of towing companies in Accra on Thursday, announced the decision of the government to make owners of broken down vehicles bear the cost of towing their vehicles.
But Mr. Hamid said a review of the LI 2180 is in the process and an amended LI should be sent to Parliament after consultations with stakeholders.
The Information Minister maintained: “Government’s role in all of this will be limited strictly to facilitation”.
“It’s not our philosophy that government should use the taxpayers’ money to go and buy tow trucks and come and tow people’s vehicles. No, it’s not our concept,” he affirmed.
However, the owners of tow trucks who are also the service providers are unhappy at the latest decision by the government.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ruttchen Trucks Ghana, Evans Dzide maintained Ghana’s roads will be sanitized if towing companies are empowered to ferry broken down vehicles out of the roads.
According to him, the current position government advanced had been tested before more than a decade ago but it did not work hence their support for the levy to be made compulsory.
“We have tested all these concepts [including the insurance aspect] but they did not work, that is why we came to the mandatory [payment].
“This project borders on huge expenditure which is recurrent…who is going to pay for all these expenditures,” he probed.
For a policy analyst, Kofi Bentil, the service providers favour the deserted LI 2180 because “it is the easy way to make ‘free’ money”. “We must separate the business of the tow operators from the policy of towing vehicles.
“If we [responsible agencies] can do the work well then we will know that this tow levy thing is not necessary,” stated the Vice President of IMANI Ghana.