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19.11.2008 Business & Finance

Used car dealers worried

By The Statesman

The Used Car Dealers Association of Ghana has called on the Millennium Development Authority to keep the promise of relocating them before work begins on the Tetteh Quarshie-Mallam Highway, rather than threatening them with forceful ejection.

They have therefore challenged MiDA to act with utmost urgency to ensure that the promise of relocating them before the commencement of work on the highway.

The association made this call at a press conference in Accra last week to deliberate on the condition of their business locations in the face of the reconstruction of the new highway, which is underway.

"If this is not done, we and our families stand the risk of losing our  livelihood due to the reconstruction of the new highway', Nana Bugyei, General Secretary of the association, made this known to the media.

On the association's relationship with MiDA, Nana Bugyei explained that it was approached by MiDA, when it became clear that the road construction would affect their businesses.

'The Authority promised to safely relocate all car dealers on the highway before reconstruction works begin so as to avoid business disruption.'

According to him, MiDA later returned to inform them that all the proposed lands for their relocation had court injunctions on them.

To their 'surprise,' government managed to secure a piece of land for a rival association known as Greater Accra Used Car Dealers Association, which would not be affected by the reconstruction, on the Spintex Road, he claimed.

'The failure of Martin Esson Benjamin, Chief Executive of MiDA to honour his earlier promise appears to be a deliberate attempt to sabotage members of the association', Nana Bugyei stressed.

He pleaded with all the leaders of the various political parties to come to their aid and help address their predicament.

Mr. Eson-Benjamin in a subsequent interview, denied ever promising to offer the used car dealers land for relocation.

'We only promised we will assist them get land', he explained, adding that the authority does not own any land any where.

At the same media briefing, the Public Relations Officer of the association, Rev. Okrah, said the fees paid for the use of trial number plates covers the use of the cars for 24 hours over a period of one year and so expressed displeasure at what they say is constant harassment by the police over their use.

'All those who have trade number plates have their pictures with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority which can be retrieved by the police at any time, so the excuse that the cars are being used in armed robbery is neither here nor there', Rev. Okrah explained.

He emphasized that since Parliament passed the law on the use of trade number plates LI935/11, the police could not re-invent the wheel, unless they seek amendment in parliament.

The association asked the government to place a Stolen Motor Vehicles Database at all entry points to detect and prevent stolen vehicles from entering the country.

'It is unfair, they collect their import duty on the vehicles and turn round to confiscate the same vehicles from us', the PRO bemoaned.

Chairman of the association, Nana Yeboah Asiamah, appealed to government to allocate land for them to build a bonded warehouse to facilitate their work.