Remove import duty on new tyres - CPA (Monday, September 2, 2013) pg 20

The Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) has advocated the removal of import duties on new tyres to make the new tyres more affordable.

“The biggest headache of the Ghanaian consumer is pricing. If the Ministry of Transport manages to bring the price down, it will help change the mindset of people that second hand tyre is better than the new one,” Mr Kofi Kapito, the Chief Executive Officer of the agency, said at a forum on tyre standardisation in Accra. “If we are committed to reducing accidents on our roads, this is an important option,” he added.

One of the major reasons vehicle owners buy used tyres is because of cost. On the average the cost of a new tyre is six times the used tyre. Organised by the National Road Safety Commission, the forum brought together regulators and dealers in the tyre industry, including the Ghana Standard Authority, the tyre- dealing associations and companies, Ghana Ports and Habour Authority and the Vehicle Examination and Licensing Authority.

In 2011, the then Vice-President, John Mahama, had called for a national debate to determine whether to continue importing second-hand spare parts and tyres for vehicles.

The law

A year later, Parliament passed the national road traffic regulation law. Road Traffic Regulation 62, sub-section (2) states “A person shall not fit a tyre on a motor vehicle or a trailer, if the tyre is more than four years old, counting from the date of manufacture.”

With the coming into effect of the law, the NRSC had announced in July this year that that it would begin the implementation of the ban on sub-standard tyres from September.

The announcement was met with protest from tyre dealers in the country who argued that apart from creating financial burden on the tyre dealers it would also create unemployment. At the forum, the tyre dealers made a strong case for the review of the law to keep the age of prohibited second hand tyres that could be imported into the country from four to six years.

Prior to the enactment of the law, the commission had in 2008 conducted a study to access the impact of used tyres on road safety. The result was shared with stakeholders and subsequently translated into the road traffic regulations.

But Mrs Obiri-Yeboah said although a cross section of stakeholders, including transporters, got the opportunity to make inputs into the law, it had become necessary to engage all stakeholders further on the provisions of the new law to allow for a smooth implementation of the regulations on tyres provided by the regulation.

“Road safety is everybody’s concern. It is a public health issue and has become a development issue which must necessarily attract the attention of policy makers at every level of governance and all stakeholders if we are to achieve our national target of a single digit fatality rate by 2015.”

The banning of second hand tyres had attracted a lot of interest with the various tyre dealers association making a strong case for a review of the law. However, Mrs Obiri-Yeboah said the focus of the law and the commission was on substandard tyres and not used tyres as reported by a section of the media.

In a presentation Mr Samuel Obeng Asiamah, a Senior Planning Officer of the NRSC, observed that poor knowledge on vehicle tyre maintenance and usage accounted for a number of road crashes. He said that about 85 per cent of vehicle owners in Ghana checked the pressure of their tyres only when the pressure was low instead of doing that daily.

“Excessive speed, under inflated tyres, or excessive loads, either separately or in combination can cause heat build-up and possible tyre failure. He said the recommended vehicle tyres for the country were pneumatic tyres manufactured for use in hot and normal weather areas labeled temperature class A or B.

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