One thing destroying Ghana’s automobile industry is road carnage; statistics say, there are 10,000 recorded road accidents annually in Ghana, while these accidents cause over 1,600 people to lose their lives and more than 15,000 injured.
Experts blame this on bad roads plus type and the condition of vehicles.
One worrying trend currently clothing the country’s automobile industry is the importation and conversion of right-hand vehicles.
The right-hand vehicles imported range from small vehicles to cargo ones with many of them used for commercial purposes. This importation is unlawful.
The Customs, Excise and Preventive (Management) Act, 2002 (Act 634) Section 89D states that: “(1) it is prohibited for any person to import a right-hand-steering motor vehicle into this country unless otherwise authorized by the Minister.
(2) Subject to any other provisions of this Law, a prohibited vehicle imported into the country shall be seized and forfeited to the state. [As substituted by the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (Management) (Amendment) Act, 2002 (Act 634)”.
But, hundreds of such right-handed cars, buses and other types are being imported through the country’s ports. A Road Safety Management Expert, Cecil Ebow Garbrah, confirms that such an act hinders the country’s agenda to sanitize the industry.
Adom News’ checks reveal that authorities charged to oversee and enforce this regulation are rather permitting the importation under the guise of penalty payment. The Chairman of Vehicle and Assets Dealers Association of Ghana, Bernard Ntrakwa confirms this to our news team.
A key worry to road safety experts is the conversion of these right-hand vehicles when they arrive in the country. Adom News‘ Investigations reveal there are some local mechanics dotted especially across the capital Accra who carry out the conversion from right to left-hand drive.
But do these mechanics have the expertise and the right technology to do safe and proper conversion?
Mr Garbrah, who has been practicing for years, doubts this asserting that the mechanics do not have the capacity to carry out a safety-assured conversion.
These are some of the vehicles captured by our investigation team at various auto-fixing shops in Accra.
As to whether these conversions done here are right or not, these auto repairers charge between 1,000 to 1,500 cedis for the conversion of each vehicle depending on the vehicle type. The undercover team got some of these local repairers on camera.
The investigation team’s curiosity was further heightened when we realised these right-hand vehicles are usually towed at night.
Our checks reveal that most of these right-handed cars are imported from Japan, South Africa among others. The Road Safety Management Expert, Cecil Ebow Garbrah strongly believes the act contributes to increasing road accidents recorded in the country.
The motivation for the import of the right-hand drive is perceived to be because it is cheaper.
Adom News made several efforts to reach the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority on what their position on the matter it but to no avail.