Gov’t urged to set maximum age limit on vehicles

Harrison Nyarko, H&M Premium Partners

To mitigate against rising air pollution and degradation of the environment, government has been urged to place a legal maximum age limit on vehicles, and where possible set up a vehicle disposal fund.

This, according to Harrison Nyarko of H&M Premium Partners – a transport consultancy – could help reduce air pollution, dumping, as well as encourage people to trade-in their unmotorable vehicles, to be recycled for local industries.

“What we are saying is that we should begin discussions on placing a legal maximum on the age of cars in the country, from the date of manufacture to about 25 years. And we should establish a fund so that people who buy cars pay a certain percentage of the car’s value into the fund. The fund runs with Treasury bill rate, and then when the legal maximum age is up the person surrenders the car to government and the fund in turn pays what you have contributed plus the accumulated interest and a lump-sum,” Mr. Nyarko opined.

“So, if you bring in a car which is 10-years old and the legal maximum age is set at 25, it means you have 15 years to use the car,” he added.

According to the United Nations, air pollution is an important public health problem in most cities of the developing world today – placing a huge burden on billions of people, especially the poor.

Pollution caused by vehicular emissions is one of the greatest threats to human life today, with most countries aggressively pursuing steps to combat the menace.

Despite the precarious nature of the menace, Ghana is yet to make any major steps toward reducing pollution of any form, and their concomitant effect on the environment and human lives.

“Look at what is happening with vehicle disposal management: homes and fitting shops are becoming dumping grounds for permanently immobilised cars- cars that are no longer on the road. So why can’t government take advantage of these cars?” Mr. Nyarko quizzes.

Explaining how the proposed legal maximum age limit and fund would work, Mr. Nyarko said: “Our modelling shows that if government makes people pay into the fund, and could invest it at Treasury bill rate plus 2 percent, we would solve the problems we have with old vehicles in the system. We would also be mobilising funds for development.

“After the car has reached its maximum age, government calls for it and takes it to a disposal site. People will not be afraid to submit their vehicle because they will get money, to which they can add a little bit more to get a new vehicle.

“So the fund is designed to encourage people to bring in old cars, then how much you get from it depends on your initial contribution plus interest and a lump-sum that is tied to the age at which you bought the car,” he further noted.

Regarding what happens if a car owner wants to sell his vehicle, he said: “There would then be a reference point whereby you can tell the buyer that you contributed this amount into a fund”.

Mr. Nyarko also believes that placing an age limit on cars, as well as establishing a disposal fund, will go a long way to rid the road of non-roadworthy cars, reduce accidents, mobilise funds for development and ultimately save lives.

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