Honourable Member of Parliament (MP) for the Kpando constituency, Mrs. Della Sowah, has held a town-hall meeting with Drivers, Spare Part dealers, car importers, and other stakeholders in the constituency ahead of the debate on the ban on importation of second-hand and salvaged cars by the government.
The MP used the occasion to discuss and elaborate on the intended amendment of the proposed Automobile Bill by the government with it’s stakeholders and interested groups.
She explained that the government’s reason behind the Auto Bill is to make room for the development of an automotive industry in the country.
The Bill was brought to parliament last year but withdrawn following concerns raised by some members of the finance committee of parliament.
Although it was not relaid under a certificate of urgency the Minister of Finance represented by one of his deputies Kweku Kwarteng told the committee that it had to be treated as urgent because some of the Auto manufacturers had already brought plants to Ghana.
The government had agreed to waive all duties, VAT NHIL and other levies for them.
In addition, the manufacturers are asking for immediate ban on importation ofsalvaged and second hand vehicles older than 10 years which currently accounts for 80% of vehicles imported into the country.
The Bill also proposes raising taxes on imported sedan and pick up vehicles from 20% and 5% respectively to 30%.
In return the automative industry is expected to employ about 5000 people.
Mrs. Sowah explained that the government agreed to a 6 months moratorium. and to allow salvaged vehicles enroute to Ghana arrive and be cleared
Mrs Sowah, mentioned that the Representative of the Second-hand car importers association Mr. Boateng had beguedued that, the decision by government was not in the best interest the of majority of Ghanaians. Mr. Boateng told the committee that a lot of people rely on these cars as a means of transport, and noted that, there are about two (2) million Ghanaians engaged directly in this sector. Any attempt to ban these vehicles would be detrimental to businesses and risk putting a lot of people out of work.
While she believes in the need to have a partnership with these companies, the government’s decision to increase import duties on cars and ban the importation second-hand and salvaged vehicles is harsh to the ordinary public transport users and the importers of cars who may run out of business due to this decision
The group welcomed the MP’s intervention and expressed anger and disappointment at the amendment.
Many of them could not believe that the government would exchange the livelihood of two million Ghanaians with the promise of 5,000 jobs. About the morator,ium they described it as Killing me softly.
They promised to support and work with her to push the government to listen to their plights and also call the government to take a second look at the proposed amendment of the bill.
They indicated their readiness to dialogue with government through the MP in order to come a to a very amicable solution that is of interest to everyone.
Source: Felix Nyaaba