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15.06.2004 Business & Finance

Insurance Companies urged support road safety activities

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Accra, June 15, GNA - Mr Johnson Clifford Aboagye, Chairman of the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), on Monday appealed to insurance companies to support the NRSC with funds to enable the commission work effectively to minimise road accidents in the country.

He suggested that they should contribute at least 5,000 cedis of premium charged on each vehicle insured for road safety activities. Mr Aboagye said: "We have estimated that with about 700,000 vehicle insured in this country, we can raise at least 3.5 billion cedis if the insurance companies responds positively to our plea for 5000 cedis of premiums on every vehicle insured".

He made the appeal at the inauguration of a 13-member Board of Directors of Care-Safety Ghana (CSG), a newly established non-governmental organization seeking to compliment the effort of government and other stakeholders in ensuring road safety. The 13-member Board included Madam Ama Busia, Member of the Council of State, as chairman Mr Robert Kafui Johnson, General Manager of the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Nana Owusu Nsiah, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Brigadier Richardson Baiden, Commissioner of Customs Excise and Preventive Services (CEPS) and Mr Sam Owusu Adjei, Chief Director of the Ministry of Health as members.

Mr Aboagye said the NRSC spent at least six billion cedis every year for road safety campaign and for supporting road safety agencies involved in awareness creation, provision of relief for road accident victims among others.

He said the amount was mainly from the government through the Road Fund and DANIDA, adding that the insurance companies contributed only between 800 million cedis and 1.2 billion cedis last year to support the NRSC.

Mr Aboagye urged insurance companies to provide the Police Motor Transport and Traffic Unit (MTTU) with radial guns for checking speed limits of vehicles to check over-speeding and reckless driving. He appealed to government to increase the number of police personnel in the country to ensure that the roads were adequately 'policed', adding that there should be police checkpoints within every 14 kilometers to check over-speeding and other traffic offences.

Nana Awuah-Darko Ampem I, Chairman of the Vanguard Group of Companies assured the NRSC that he would collaborate with his colleagues to ensure that the Commission's request was granted.

He said some people perceived insurance companies as bodies interested only in collecting premiums and avoiding claims and explained that measures aimed at minimizing road accidents automatically assisted in reducing claims.

Mrs Morkor Newman, representative of the World Health Organisaton (WHO), said road accidents was the second highest killer of persons aged between five and 29 in the world, adding that it killed at least 1.2 billion people (3000 deaths a day) every year. She said accident victims represented some 56 per cent of all persons admitted for trauma related problems in hospitals worldwide.

Mrs Newman said lorry accidents were increasingly becoming a public health and development issue that require collaborative effort to address, hence the relevance of non-governmental organisations (NGO) and other agencies such as the CSG.

Mr Rich Kay, Chief Executive Officer of CSG, noted that despite efforts of government and those of the several other NGOs involved in road safety activities, road accidents and their resultant human and property loss kept increasing in the country.

He said random figures showed that road accidents cost the country more than two per cent of Gross National Product, adding that the human and property loss run into trillions of cedis.

"CSG was incorporated in December last year and now that we have the board in place to guide us, we would take off with awareness creation, and support mobilization activities immediately," he said. "We have divided the country into Northern, Central and Southern zones to ensure effectiveness in our activities." 14 June 04