The Accra Metropolitan Assembly has served notice of its determination to enforce its regulations aimed at keeping Accra clean to befit the status of the nation’s capital.
The attention of the city’s authorities is mainly focused on the decongestion exercise, habouring of petty traders by shop owners in the Central Business District (CBD) of the metropolis and the recent directive for taxis operating in the metropolis to have special identification numbers embossed on them.
Mr. Ali Baba Abature, Special Assistant to the city mayor told The Chronicle that there was no way the Mayor and his team were going to renege on their commitment to keep the city clean.
He said so far about 250 people had been prosecuted for various offences related to the decongestion exercise. The Special Assistant revealed that those who were prosecuted were made to pay various sums of money as fines while some 35 people who could not pay their fines were sentenced to three months imprisonment each.
Mr. Abature said those who were bent on flouting the laws of the AMA would be made to face tougher sanctions than those who were arrested earlier, explaining that punishments for offenders ought to be made drastic to deter those who were bent on frustrating the activities of the Mayor and his team.
He said a meeting was held between city authorities and shop owners in the CBD and they (shop owners) agreed during the meeting to desist from allowing petty traders to display their wares in front of their shops or they themselves displaying their wares in front of their shops rather than having them in the shops as required by law.
The Special Assistant further told the paper that a meeting had been scheduled between the city authorities and the leadership of the Ghana United Traders Association, which is the umbrella association of traders in the metropolis to discuss issues of mutual benefit in connection with the decongestion exercise.
A release from the Public Relations Department of the Assembly yesterday said 45 recalcitrant hawkers and petty traders were arrested and put before the AMA Magistrate Court just after the Easter holidays and each of them was fined ¢3million for obstructing public way and conducting illegal trading activities.
Last Saturday, the city authorities embarked on a special exercise to crack down on shop owners in the CBD who were bent on accommodating petty traders by allowing them to display their wares in front of their shops.
In the process, 40 shop owners were arrested for allowing the petty traders to ply their activities in front of their shops. They are also being processed for court, according to the release.
Taxi drivers in the metropolis who have since not complied with the directive of having a special number embossed on their cabs have been given up to May 7 to do so or face sanctions. Ali Baba said the rationale for asking for those numbers to be embossed was for purely security considerations. He said people who leave their items in taxi cabs could easily identify the taxis with the numbers.
'Taxis that are used for robbery can also be easily identified,' he said to justify the directive for the numbers to be embossed on the taxis.
'After a one week grace period, all taxi cabs without embossment and taxi drivers who are not in the prescribed uniforms, that is sea blue shirt and dark blue trousers will be arrested and prosecuted by the police and Metro guards after May 15, 2007,' the release contained.
It further noted that so far, 9,725 out of the registered 11,406 taxis that have registered with the AMA had complied with the embossment directive.