Kumasi, Aug. 31, GNA - The Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC) is to, within the next one month introduce a new embossment for use by all taxicabs in the region.
Mr. S.K. Boafo, Ashanti Regional Minister, who announced this said the embossment would comprise of a selected colour depicting that the taxi was from the Ashanti region, and specific numbers indicating the part of the region from which the taxis operate. Mr. Boafo announced this at the Ashanti Region 2004 Vanguard Assurance Company Best Taxi Drivers Award ceremony in Kumasi on Wednesday.
The Award scheme was instituted by the Vanguard Assurance three years ago, but was only limited to Accra and Kumasi, and intended to motivate taxi drivers to be more disciplined.
Seventeen taxi drivers were honoured with various awards at the ceremony for their hard work, dedication and discipline. Mr. Raphael Asumang of the Mampong GPRTU Taxi Union received the premium and ultimate award which was a double deck refrigerator, while Mr. Kwabena Boahene of the Amansie-East Taxi union took home a 20-inch colour television for placing second.
Mr. Adu Poku of the Ahodwo-Nhyiaeso taxi Branch had a Ghetto Blaster for being third, with the rest taking away 500,000 cedis each as consolation awards.
Mr. Boafo made it clear that the introduction of the new embossment was not intended to replace the Number plate system but rather to add to it, and help strengthen measures at tracing careless and indisciplined drivers.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Frank Adu Poku, expressed worry about the spate of motor accidents in the region in spite of the good nature of the roads.
He said good roads were not a license for indulging in reckless driving, but rather an opportunity for drivers to drive their passengers safely to their destinations.
Mr. M.E. Baba, Chief Executive Officer of the Vanguard Assurance Company, said originally the award scheme was limited to only Accra-Tema, it will now be extended to cover the entire country by 2007, beginning with the Kumasi awards.
Mr. Baba said soon after the extension, the company would organise the first National Best taxi drivers award, with the winner taking home a brand new taxicab.
Oheneba Adusei Poku, Akyempemhene, who presided commended the Vanguard Assurance for the initiative and called on other insurance companies to institute similar awards for drivers.
In a related development the Ashanti Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC) says it views with grave concern the resurgence of armed robbery and other criminal activities in the region, especially within the Kumasi Metropolis.
Following this, it said, the RCC recently met the top brass of Security personnel in the region, including District Chief Executives, to review the security situation and assured all residents in the region, especially the Kumasi Metro that adequate security measures had been put in place to protect law abiding citizens.
It said intelligence reports indicated that most of the heinous crimes were committed with taxis whose registration numbers were not easy to identify at a reasonable distance because of their size and posture.
The RCC has therefore given Metropolitan, Municipal and District assemblies one month to meet with the transparent bodies or organisations to work out the coding system.
It appealed to taxi drivers and taxi owners to join any of the recognised transport bodies of their choice since no floating taxis would be entertained.
The RCC also cautioned all those who clear their vehicles from the port and have their cars in transit to adhere to the guidelines pertaining to the use of trade license plates and warned that any driver caught abusing the use of the trade license plate facility will be prosecuted.
Similarly the release said, motorbike riders caught using unregistered motorbikes in the Metropolis, will be made to face the full rigours of the law.
The RCC appealed to Transport owners, drivers, transport bodies, the motoring public, opinion leaders, the metropolitan, Metropolitan and District Assemblies and all stakeholders to co-operate to make the implementation of these measures a success. The Council also extended its deep condolences to the families of the victims who lost their lives in the dastardly acts of armed robbers.