The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) this week, introduced an illegal fee to fleece the unsuspecting owners of vehicles in the country. According to reports, the GH¢108 payment is mandatory for a first aid kit as part of vehicle registration and roadworthy certificate renewal fees.
It must be noted that all fees charged by the DVLA must be backed by an Act of Parliament and Legislative Instruments from the Minister for Transport on the recommendations of the Board of Directors. The Board must, however, by corporate governance procedures, sit and approve fees that the DVLA must charge the owners of vehicles. In addition, for the purpose of confirming to the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663), concurrent approval must be sought from the Public Procurement Authority after tender specifications have been designed by a team of experts, and the contract put on tender and a transparent bid price selected.
DVLA Act, 1999 (Act 569), Section 26, 1(d) states that, “1.the Minister may, on the recommendation of the Board, by legislative instrument, make regulations relating to driving and use of motor vehicles and for giving effect to this Act. (d) fees to be charged for services performed by the Authority.”
Again, Fees and Charges Act 2009, (Act 793) also stipulates all fees and charges that should be charged by all government agencies and institutions.
Moreover, upon a critical examination of modern vehicles, one will fimd that these vehicles are automatically fitted with internationally acceptable standard first aid kits.
The question therefore is, which law is the DVLA drawing its powers from to make the acquisition and purchase of the first aid kit from DVLA shops mandatory? If the first aid kit is mandatory, what are the approved specifications and from which institution is the specifications coming as DVLA has no expertise in health equipment?
And for the compliance of free market regulations, are these specifications and standards known to the public so as to allow other private firms to stock the equipment for price competition and fairness to users?
Until the DVLA provides concrete and factual answers to these questions, it is my considered opinion that the DVLA is engaged in an illegality, thievery, and criminality. The mandatory purchase should be resisted by the public and the compulsory sale of the first aid kit by DVLA must be stopped with immediate effect and the perpetrators punished.
The writer is a Governance and Policy Analyst