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25.10.2007 General News

Towards effective decentralization for wealth: Osei Owusu's DVLA shows the way

By Adu Koranteng
Towards effective decentralization for wealth: Osei Owusu's DVLA shows the way
OCT 25, 2007 GENERAL NEWS

Beginning 2008, DVLA plans to license only literate applicants as drivers with the basic educational requirement of Junior High School Certificate.

The Authority has therefore intensified its eye and written test for all applicants for driver's licenses and registration of all driving schools, which is to enable the authority monitor the activities of drivers.

It is estimated that 90 per cent of accidents occur in Ghana as a result of blunder caused by drivers. Improper training, over speeding, careless overtaking, alcohol and drug addiction have been noted as the major causes of accidents on Ghanaian roads. Others include disregarding traffic lights and indiscipline on the roads places lots of problems on Ghanaian roads.

The Authority in a bid to reform its operations has allowed commercial banks to operate in their premises. The major achievement of the Authority under the management of Joe Osei is the acquisition of the Ghana Airways Training School at the sum of US$900,000 to serve as its new Head Office.

Since the service is equipment based and require huge capital outlay, infrastructure and skilled manpower, the Authority has secured the services of an Investment Consultant to design and implement modern processes that would introduce the use of testing equipments and instruments in vehicle examination.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority Act (569) was passed in 1999. The Act was mordernised and promote good driving standards in the country to ensure the use of roadworthy vehicles on the roads and other public places.

The Act will enforce inspection, testing and registration of motor vehicles for road use.

It enjoins the Authority to encourage and promote decent and good driving standards in the country as well as ensure the use of roadworthy vehicles.

Challenges

Joe Osei Owusu's administration has worked tirelessly to institute a fee paying roadworthiness programme.

The Act has been mild on vehicle examination, the failure of DVLA to charge fees towards vehicle examination has caused loss of several billions of cedis in its portfolio. As a result one obtains a roadworthy certificate upon payment of road use fee after satisfactory vehicle examinations, which is free.

Doing roadworthiness for free reduces the quality of testing, since only visual inspection is required, instead of equipment based testing. In this regard the Authority is unable to properly test more modern vehicles which are equipped with emerging technologies and the appropriate standards for testing, which require the use of testing equipments and instrument.

Since the service is equipment based and require huge capital outlay, infrastructure and skilled manpower, the Authority has secured the services of an Investment Consultant to design and implement modern processes that would introduce the use of testing equipments and instruments in vehicle examination.

Inspite of its successes in inter regional operation, the Authority has not been able to adequately resource its regional offices and expand its operations. This is part of the measures to computerize all the activities of the agency to make information accessible.

Vehicle inspection would include Brake test, Gas test, alignment among others. It aims at putting up pragmatic training programmes for private garages, agric and construction equipment operators.

The secrete behind Joe Osei's success is attributed to vision and creativity. "I joined DVLA with the aim of implementing my own vision and objective and walk out afterwards. According to him the public service is nobody's property to inherit and one needed to quickly implement his/her initiatives and walk out.

His vision was to provide world class service as in England, the United States, Germany among others. A world class service that would make its service and the quality of driving as well as Ghanaian drivers recognized throughout the sub region and the continent.

The greatest obstacle in the implementation of his initiatives was money. Lack of funds was affecting infrastructural development and delaying real change. Fortunately, all activities of the Authority had the value and the potential of generating enough funds.

However, they were stuck due to the reluctance of government in allowing full cost for service delivery from the general public.

It was the effort of government to maintain trust among drivers. To begin the implementation process, DVLA employed the services of a private sector institution it injected $3.5 million dollars to pre-finance all the projects. Thanks to the assistance of the Board Members of DVLA and the then Minister of Roads and Transport Dr Richard Anane, Joe Osei's vision started to become real.

It lead to the introduction of a potable quality drivers license. The new license has hidden features like Coat of Arms. The introduction of the card license was to facilitate monitoring and law enforcement.

The quality form of the license protects it from hard weather. Experts say it not under imitation now since one would need time to imitate it. You need to be physically present to process it and give information.

Joe Osei had to apply innovation vision courage to take decision that previous leaders were afraid to undertake. It made a projection of ¢76 billion for 2007 and records indicate that revenue is nearing $80 billion.

After successful management of DVLA, Joe Osei Owusu is now ready to accept any challenge from his master, President John Agyekum Kufuor, his expertise could help spread the operation of the Registrar General in all the country's 10 regional capitals.

His final task is to ensure that vehicle registration and testing for road worthiness are computerized. Under his management DVLA made ¢1 billion in 2002 - ¢40 billion in 2003, ¢45 billion in 2004, ¢54 billion 2005, ¢66 billion in 2006 and working to attain ¢76 billion in 2007.

Inspite of the huge revenue made DVLA is still maintained as a subverted agency. Government without any reason continue to control the highly revenue generating agency and preventing it from being autonomous.

He also needed mass recruitment of high class quality people but the then salary structure of government was preventing the operation. He fought and had it reversed. That helped to increase the nationwide staff role to 300 people. And still need more staff. Accra has less than 100staff.

Joe Osei, 44 years old was born at Bekwai in the Ashanti Region. He had his primary education at the Bekwai Catholic School, Secondary Education at the Juaben and Wenchi Secondary School on government scholarship. He then proceed to the University of Ghana, Legon in 1984.

He completed in 1987 with a combined degree in law and classics. Then to the Ghana Law School for a professional Law course. After national service, he relocated to service in the Barima Chambers to serve in the chambers of Hon. Yaw Barima and practised for four years.

Today, he is aiming at securing the Parliamentary seat of Bekwai under the New Patriotic Party. He aims at putting down accurate structures to help his people and hope that he could only do that after become an MP.

The funds, the structures there are said to be abused by MPs, he hoped to further turned the fortunes of his people around through free education, National Health Insurance Improve agriculture among others.

These are initiatives he started and hope to complete when he becomes a Member of Parliament.

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