The Automobile Dealers Union Ghana (ADUG), has reiterated calls for government to hold broader consultations with all stakeholders in the automobile industry, regarding the intended regulation and a possible ban on the importation of some category of second-hand and salvaged vehicles.
Data available from the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Customs Division, indicates that between 2005 and 2016, more than 1 million vehicles were imported into the country; representing an average of 100,000 cars per year.
Out of this figure, 80 percent were second-hand vehicles. According to some quarters the trend needs to be reversed to allow for the development, nurturing and flourishing of a competitive automotive industry in Ghana.
Parliament recently announced plans to put in place a regulatory framework for the importation of ‘second-hand’ and salvaged vehicles, also known as accident vehicles. This is captured in the Customs Amendment Bill which is on the agenda of the house for consideration.
The Majority Leader of Parliament, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, who disclosed this, said this has become necessary for the country’s emerging automobile industry, which is looking at having automobile giants like VW, Toyota, Renault and Nissan, set up assembly plants in the country.
Speaking to Citi Business News after addressing the press on the Automobile Dealers Union Ghana’s position on the intended action, the General Secretary of the Union, Clifford Ansu, said the impact of such a ban on businesses and employment will be huge and could lead to agitations.
“Trotro drivers and vehicle owners are all stakeholders, not only the vehicle importers. If you don’t bring them on board and you decide to go ahead with the ban, at the end of the day if they are not getting work to do they will divert their attention to something else like the situation we have in the ‘galamsey’ [illegal mining] space now. People will find any means necessary to eat and live if they lose their jobs, and we don’t want people taking any negative routes.”
The union further challenged government to focus its energies and resources towards rehabilitating and expanding Ghana’s road network to prevent the increasing number of accidents, instead of the situation on imported accident or salvaged cars.
“The talk of accident cars [Salvaged cars] causing accidents on our roads is totally false and wrong. They should rather try and focus their attention on expanding our roads to prevent head-on collisions. Accidents happen, but sometimes when we as individuals take proper measures and are careful we can minimize the likelihood of accidents.”
Currently, there are penalties for over-aged cars ranging between 5% and 100% of the total cost, insurance and freight of an imported car, between 10 years, and those over 35 years at the country’s ports.