‘How did toilet puller become a luxury vehicle?’ – Driver Unions demand answers from Ofori-Atta

Two driver unions – Ghana Committed Drivers Union and True Drivers Union are demanding that Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Ata explains why users of commercial vehicles which include toilet pullers must pay Luxury Vehicle Levy (LVL) to the state.

Under the LVL Act, 2018 (Act 969), vehicle with certain engine capacities attract some levies annually.

According to Yaw Barima, the PRO for True Drivers Union, toilet pullers and comercial vans (trotros) fall within the LVL although such vehicles are not luxurious.

“The Finance Minsiter should be able to tell us why a toilet puller should be classified as a luxury vehicle?” Mr Barima quizzed in an interview with Mugabe Maase on Radio XYZ 93.1 Tuesday.

To him, owners of such vehicles do not make much profits to be able to afford the levy government is demanding from them, citing it is the reason the group will hit the streets of Accra on Thusrday, March 7,2019.

The Driver groups tegether with Vehicle Asset Dealers Association of Ghana (VADAG), Concerned spare Parts Dealers and the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers Ghana (COPEC) are threatening to demostrate because the government has not shown committment to their pleas.

For the Driver Unions, they will abandon their vehicles at the premises of the Ministry of Finance, the private residence of President Akufo-Addo, parliament, and the Jubilee House – the seat of government after the protest.

“The government did not consult us before this act was implemented. We have written to the presidency and Ken Ofori Atta (the Finance Minister) but we have not heard anything from them…They don’t know how the levy is negatively affecting our businesses and lives, but we want to tell the government that we can’t pay the luxury tax so they should abolish it,” Barima told Piesie Okrah on the XYZ Business news last month.

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According to the car and spare parts dealers, their sales have dwindled after the ACT came into force. They attributed their loses to the fact that Ghanaians do not want to buy vehicles with engine capacities that attract the Luxury Vehicle tax.

Court Injunction

Earlier today, the Accra High Court granted permission to the Vehicle and Asset Dealers Association of Ghana (VADAG), Concerned Spare Parts Dealers and the other aggrieved driver groups to demonstrate against the Luxury Vehicle Levy.

This was after the Police had dragged them to court to restrain them from using 2000 cars in their demonstration and also to stop them from leaving their cars at the Jubilee house and the Finance Ministry.

But the court presided over by Justice Daniel Mensah called on the Police to ensure maximum security is given the group on March 7, 2019, as they protest against what the group term as “killer taxes.”

The lawyer of the car dealers, Francis Otoyin told the court that he has spoken with the Attorney General and agreed that the vehicles would be reduced from 2000 to 40.

Although Even the lawyer for the respondents, William Pobi argued that the police will be tired after the independence day celebration the presiding Judge overruled it, and stressed it was the constitutional right of the group to protest.

Luxury Vehicle Tax

According to the Luxury Vehicle Act, 2018 (Act 969), vehicle with engine capacity ranging from 2.9L to 3.0L were charged GHc1,000; capacities ranging from 3.5L to 4.0L were also charged GHc1,500, while vehicles with engine capacity of 4.5L and above were levied GHc2000.

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Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta announced this in Parliament Thursday July 19,2018 when he presented the government’s Mid-Year Budget Review

However, the levy was not applicable to other categories of motor vehicles such as tractors, ambulances, commercial vehicles that have the capacity to transport more than 10 persons, as well as commercial vehicles for the transport of goods.

The levy is payable by owners of motor vehicles on the date of the first registration and subsequently upon renewal of the annual roadworthy certificate of the motor vehicle.

The levy is also payable on existing motor vehicles registered prior to the introduction of the Act.