Saturday, 10 December 2011

Ghana shouldn't ban second-hand cars... yet.

There is a video for this post below the text but the volume of the sound may not be loud enough. The text of this post and the video are largely the same.

So the Minister for Environment, Science and Technology, Sherry Ayittey said that legislation will be coming into Ghana to ban the importation of second -hand cars. I totally agree with the sentiment but I think she's applied a good policy to a country that cannot cope with such a policy.

How are Ghanaians supposed to afford brand new cars? We don't have our own car manufacturing industry to drive costs down.

I have a different 3-Phase plan. I will take a long time to make it the norm but they say patience is a virtue.

Phase 1: Privately Owned Public Vehicles
These include Taxis, Trotros, and Trucks. These are vehicles that transport passenger and goods. They become proper contributors to the economy because as yet, a lot of them (Taxis and Trotros) fall into an informal economy, which really helps no one.
I would say that each of these vehicles are given a state assigned expiry date - based on car by car MOT servicing. Once a car is expired the owner must turn it into the government for recycling (the government should be nice enough to pay him), and buy him/herself a new vehicle.

This will bring in competition to the industry thus driving down passenger costs in the near future but raising the quality of transport in the long run. Taxi drivers with newer cars should be allowed to charge more for the fact that they are providing a nicer service. Taxi drivers of older cars will have to lower their charges to appeal to passengers who would otherwise choose the newer car. The newer cars, I believe, will always be patronised by the Ghanaian public because they are by far the safest option (no cracked windscreen and faulty seatbelts). Drivers of older cars will then want to emulate their colleagues and get new cars to earn more money, therefore the older cars are phased off of our streets.

An immediate ban on second-hand cars will only leave the public thinking the government doesn't understand their plight.

Phase 2: Wealthy Private Car Owners
When richer citizens buy a car 1st/2nd/3rd hand... they are taxed in accordance to its age. This system is used in Singapore up until a 15% cap on the value of the car. The older the car, the more work it would require and the more tax it is costing the owner, as such it gets to a point where it makes sense for him/her to buy a new car, save the hassle of constant up keep and pay the base rate of tax once again. the old car is bought by the government and recycled. Coupled with the tax, is an age limit for the cars (for all those owners too stingy oor sentimental to let go of an old carbon emitting vehicle), the car owner is warned of the upcoming expiry on his car and if he fails to make movements to renew his car, it is simply confiscated. ahhh welll!

Phase 3: Poorer Private Car Owners
This is the hardest one because of course the main concern is poorer car owners. I do think that a comprehensive and efficient public transport system  - hybrid of government owned and privately owned vehicles - will soften the blow of any harsh policy. The government, I would suggest would pay these car owners for their car and recycle it.

...And Recycle It?
The government can recycle all the cars they buy/confiscate from the public. Cars would be stripped down to various elements melted down and used for other things. Or our film industry could buy them as stunt cars and the like. Our artists could buy them for installations at exhibitions. Our schools could buy them for the 6th form common room. haha. Jobs will be created in the evaluating of each car, the policing of cars on the road (by transport police), at the car disassemble factories. I think this plan will do more good than evil and perhaps the Minister should try this rather than just banning second-hand cars which is extremely impractical.


  1. That's some in depth analysis.
    And it so happens that the minister has expatiated on her earlier pronouncements.
    Great take.

  2. Thank you. I will look into the additions the Minister has made to her comments. I would be happy to see a system similar to what I talked about above, especially the tax bit because the government need to bring in money. I cover a lot of topics, so feel free to watch this blog by following. :)

  3. Hi,this is nice move by the government to burn importation of 2nd hand cars,this will greatly reduce environmental pollution and also the cost of maintaining cars.Africa is not a dumping ground.

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