A member of Parliament’s Road and Transport Committee in the year the controversial mandatory road towing legislation was passed has doubted claims there was a rigourous public consultation at the time.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa on Saturday commended the current administration for listening to public sentiments and scrapping the law that would have made it compulsory for every vehicle owner to pay a levy to tow broken down vehicles said to be causing fatal road accidents.
During discussions on the matter on Joy FM/MultiTV news analysis programme, Newsfile, the North Tongu sought to blame the public furore that broke out when a date was set for the implementation of the levy on a lack of stakeholder consultation.
However, he was prompted by the host of the programme, Samson Lardi Anyenini, that proponents of the legislation claimed there were prior public consultations.
Mr Ablakwa said he recalls no such processes.
The National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) for instance explained when a July 1, 2017, date was set for the nationwide implementation that modalities had been completed, and contractual arrangements with project contractors, Road Safety Management Company Ltd (RSMCL), had gone through successfully.
“I have been quite active in the public space, I don’t recall seeing any notice. I was a member of parliament as well during the period. I remember serving on roads and transport, I don’t recall there was any [consultation],” the North Tongu MP said.
During the discussion, Managing Director of State Transport Company (STC), Nana Akomea, also said he has always wondered why legislators at the time just passed the legislation and went to sleep without any follow-up processes.
“I am a little curious though. The law about this towing service was passed in 2012, so in the four years of government up to 2017 what was happening? You were in government, what was happening?,” he inquired from Mr. Ablakwa.
However, Mr. Ablakwa answered that he has also been finding answers to the same question.
“That is why I am curious too. I think it was only the private business who stood to benefit, who was busy importing trucks and making sure that he was ready, but the other key partners – the DVLA, the Road Safety Commission, the Transport Ministry – I think we should have been more engaging with the stakeholder consultations. We would have been able to avert all of these concerns,” he said.
Fees per year for both commercial and non-commercial vehicles, depending on tonnage, ranged from GHS20 to GHS200.
Under that contract, the RSML would have been entitled to 85% of all levies collected.
The controversial law has since been amended.
Vehicles will now pay for the cost of towing their vehicles – it will not be compulsory for every vehicle owner to pay to clear abandoned vehicles on the road.