A legal practitioner Yaw Oppong says critics of the contentious mandatory tow levy, should channel their concerns to their representatives on the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) and not the government.
He said the NRSC, which introduced the controversial levy, enjoys some independence and autonomy from government and is capable of designing programs, project and policies without directives from government.
The Transport Ministry has said last week, it was studying the recommendations by Parliament’s Committee on Roads and Transport after public disapproval forced the government to put the July 1, implementation date on hold.
Under the LI 2180, automobile owners will pay between Ȼ20 and Ȼ200 while owners of motorcycles are to pay Ȼ10 tied to the acquisition of road worthy certificate, to cater for towing services. Some driver unions have also kicked against the policy and signaled their intention to stage a street protest if the government goes ahead to implement it.
But Lawyer Yaw Oppong says the public should first seek answers from their representatives on the Road Safety Commission as to why they failed to consult them before approving the policy.
Membership of NRSC
Section of the National Road Safety Commission Act - 1999 (ACT 567) outlines the composition of the 20-member Commission which includes “three representatives of private providers of road transport”.
The Commission, apart from its Chair, also has representation from the following Ministries: Roads and Transport, Local Government and Rural Development, Health, Education, Communication as well as Justice and Attorney-General.
National Road Safety Commission logo
Other organizations with representation on the Commission include Motor Transport Traffic Department of the Police Service, Ghana Armed Forces, National Insurance Commission, National Association of Driving Schools, Broadcasting Industry, Ghana Journalists Association as well as Building and Road Research Institute, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority and Ghana Insurers Association.
In the view of Lawyer Oppong, the public should be concerned about how some persons make it to such state agencies and take decisions on their behalf.
“Do we really find out who is it that represents us [and] how [they] were appointed? Why don’t you call those reps and ask them,” he probed while speaking on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, Tuesday, August 8, 2017.
Balancing the equilibrium
One of the major concerns of those agitating against the policy is the decision to allocate a huge chunk of accrued funds from levy collected to a private firm, Road Safety Management Services Limited (RSMSL).
The RSMSL will share 85% of proceeds from the levy with 13 other allied companies while the remaining 15% is shared among other collaborating state agencies.
According to Lawyer Oppong, no one can change the terms of the contract except the Road Safety Commission.
He, therefore, advised the Commission to go back to the legislature to seek amendments in the law for the policy to take off.
“It is the NRSC that should go back to Parliament to amend the controversial portions of the levy. Nobody else can do that,” he stated.
Another option available to the NRSC and the RSMSL the law tutor Oppong suggests is by "balancing the equilibrium", where the parties enter an agreement to vary some portions of the contract that may be disputable.