The Trade Union Congress (TUC) is making a case for government to waive the Vehicle Income Tax (VIT) as a measure to cushion COVID-19’s impact on commercial transport owners and drivers.
According to the TUC, a total or partial waiver for a period would go a long way to lessen impacts of the virus on their lives – resulting in the huge losses they are incurring due to reduction in passenger numbers, which is an attempt to respect social distancing protocols in fighting COVID-19.
In a document entitled ‘Impact of COVID-19 on Enterprises, Employment and Livelihoods in Ghana, Some Proposed Mitigating Measures’, the TUC makes a strong case for the transporters as they continue to make sacrifices in helping the COVID-19 fight.
“Some informal economy operators are directly contributing toward containing spread of the virus. For example, taxi and trotro drivers are required to take fewer passengers than they are used to and still charge the same fares. This is part of the social distancing protocols designed to limit the spread of COVID-19.
“These drivers and their owners have paid the Vehicle Income Tax (VIT) for years. It is time for government to come to their aid during this crisis. Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) of Trades Union Congress can play a key role by helping government determine the potential losses and how they should be compensated,” the TUC said.
The VIT is a tax designed for commercial transport operators and categorised based on the tonnage and number of passengers. The VIT sticker is conspicuously displayed on the windscreen of all commercial vehicles.
The Industrial Relations Officer of the Greater Accra branch of the GPRTU, Abass Ibrahim Moro, told B&FT that the proposal is welcome but will benefit transport owners more than drivers.
“The proposal is good, but it will not be enough. The profit will go to the transport owners and drivers will not have any benefit. As we speak, commercial transport drivers are struggling to make their daily sales. Many transport owners have not reduced the sales even though they are very much aware that we have reduced the number of passengers because of coronavirus.”
He added that government has paid little attention to the proposals presented by GPRTU, paramount among them being the request to increase transport fares.
“We are in very difficult times, and it seems the drivers are not being listened to. We have asked that fares be increased marginally to help the situation, but little has come out of that proposal. Some transport owners, out of the frustration, have parked their cars. Drivers are not making the required sales due to the outbreak of corona and the fact that everyone is being cautious.”
He added: “We are now experiencing a spike in the price of spare-parts. We questioned them about it and they told us that they don’t know when they can import new spare-parts into the country, and therefore they are making some more profit on what they have.”