The Ministry of Transport has instructed management of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority [DVLA], to immediately halt mandatory charges for First Aid kits.
Deputy Transport Minister, Titus Glover, told Citi News that the DVLA has been communicated to in that regard.
The DVLA failed to duly inform both the board and the Ministry before going ahead with the implementation, according to Mr. Glover.
The DVLA this week introduced the compulsory charge of Ghc108 for the acquisition of First Aid Kits for new vehicle owners seeking to register their vehicles.
This decision has been met with stiff opposition from vehicle owners, who argue that they reserve the right to purchase such items by themselves at a cheaper cost.
The Minority in Parliament subsequently registered its opposition to the charges, and called for it to be halted.
Speaking to Citi News, Deputy Minister of Transport, Nii Kwartei Titus Glover, said the DVLA needed to have engaged its stakeholders properly before introducing the policy.
“Let me put it on record that the Ministry of Transport is not aware of the sale, because if there should be any major decision, the management needs to discuss with the board of DVLA, and it’s also on record that the board is not aware of the sale. So we were all taken unawares when this issue came up, so what we intend doing, is to invite the Chief Executive of the DVLA and his team to the Ministry. The choice is on the driver, they have to walk into any shop and buy their own First Aid Kits. If the drivers in my constituency want to use any First Aid Box they can walk into Community One and just grab one and pay for it.”
“You must have the right to express yourself on the price, but where you force it down the throat of the drivers; they can resist it because first of all, there has not been any proper engagement and this is a New Year. They have to halt it because this is a national security matter. If the drivers decide to lay down their tools, it will become a problem for all of us” he lamented.
The DVLA had early on defended the decision to charge vehicle owners for the provision of First Aid boxes.
Speaking to Citi News’ Philip Nii Lartey, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the DVLA, Francis Asamoah Tuffour, said the introduction of the levy was necessary to ensure the safety of road users.
“Research that we’ve conducted indicates that, about half of the vehicles we have in the country don’t have First Aid Kits. The slogan of DVLA is ‘Your safety is our concern.’ As an institution, we need to raise revenue for the state, but the safety of the drivers and occupants of the vehicle is our hallmark. So we are saying that we want to introduce this system so that the First Aid Kits will be in your vehicle so that in the event there’s a cut or accident or a minor injury, you can treat yourself before going to the hospital,” he said.
He denied suggestions that the charge was introduced by the DVLA to fleece the drivers in order to raise revenue for the Authority
“It is not a deliberate attempt to introduce the system to take money. The DVLA is not an institution that is so poor. We are thinking about the safety of drivers. There have been instances where accidents have been recorded and there’s no First Aid kit available. It’s worrying and as a country, we have to look at it. Things are changing and we have to move alongside,” he said.
‘More than just a First Aid Kit’
Francis Asamoah Tuffour also clarified that the amounts being charged covered not only the First Aid Kit but other items as well.
“All the components are factored into the amount and not just the First Aid Kit. There are about three or four items, the kit, the license pack and some others.”
He also insisted that there had been announcements of the new charge in the media prior to its implementation, dismissing claims that it had been sprung on the public.
“Once you go through the registration system, that’s where you pay for it. The whole thing started on Tuesday so for those who are saying they have no idea, they have to come again. Those who came on Tuesday attested to the fact that they paid. That notwithstanding, if they aren’t aware, it’s something that has been introduced, not for our sake but for their own safety,” he added.
“Prior to this, sometime last year, we had some media announcements with respect to this. The fact that they have not heard doesn’t mean that they are unaware of the system. Even if they are, they should just embrace the system for their own sake.”
By: Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie & Philip Nii Lartey /citifmonline.com/Ghana