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Opinions Fri, 4 Oct 2013

Revise The AMA's Edict On Accra's Taxis

Revise The AMA's Hard-To-Fathom Edict On Accra's Taxis

By Kofi Thompson

I am yet to meet an official from the city authorities, who can explain and justify the new Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) taxi regulations - from a human rights perspective.

Many taxi drivers in Accra seem to feel the new AMA regulations are an imposition - and an abuse of basic rights guaranteed them under the constitution of Ghana.

From my perspective, if it really is true that as a result of those new AMA regulations for taxis, it will now be virtually impossible for someone to hail a taxi from Kasoa Amanfro, for example, and be dropped off at the centre of Accra by that selfsame taxi, then that is clearly untenable.

If, in practice, as a result of those new AMA regulations, a city-centre-bound passenger from Kasoa Amanfro will now have to take a series of taxi rides - changing taxis at imaginary borders, beyond which the various taxis he or she will now have to hail, cannot traverse - then something is seriously wrong with those new AMA regulations governing the operations of taxis in the capital: and the sooner those hard-to-fathom regulations are scrapped, the better it would be for the AMA, and, above all, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) regime of President Mahama: which is bound to get all the flack from this odd edict.

Why make life difficult for ordinary people with such curious regulations, I ask?

Why court such needless controversy for absolutely no political gain in return - and create an avoidable PR disaster for a government trying hard to rebalance the economy at such great cost to itself politically?

The bottom line, is that the ability to hail a taxi cab from any point in Accra, and be dropped off at one's chosen destination anywhere in the capital, must not be restricted by regulations of any kind.

Anything to the contrary would amount to infringing on the basic rights of Ghanaians who drive taxis in Accra and those who use their services - the freedom to go about their lawful business peacefully without let or hindrance.

The AMA must aim to be a more business-friendly local government establishment - not one that engages in needless restriction of business for Accra's hard-pressed entrepreneurs, including the city's hapless taxi operators.

Yes, let the AMA register taxi cabs in the city of Accra as a revenue-raising measure, if current circumstances force it to.

However, it must not restrict the city's taxis to operating only within the boundaries of particular areas in the city.

When a taxi picks a fare anywhere in Accra, the driver ought to be allowed to drop the passenger off, in any part of the city that that particular passenger wants to be taken to.

The AMA's new edict on taxis is hard to fathom - and must be quickly revised in consultation with the city's taxi operators. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.com. Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone from Vodafone

Columnist: Thompson, Kofi