The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), yesterday commenced the removal of unauthorized billboards and sign posts in the Metropolis.
The exercise which is expected to continue until advertisers follow proper procedures in the erection of billboards, is being supervised by the AMA Technical Committee on Outdoor Advertising.
It started at about 7 a.m. yesterday on the Graphic Road through to the Awudome Cemetery area and ended up at the Dzorwulu Junction on the road to the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange.
They brought down photographs on about 50 billboards, leaving the skeletal metal poles and also removed all private signposts. Ali Baba Abature, Special Assistant to the Metropolitan Chief Executive, who was with the team said, "we will bring down all the affected structures within the week."
He said "beside these structures defacing the beauty of the city, they also obstruct road traffic."
Mr. Abature said most of the advertisers had permits for single billboards but are using them for other structures without coming for permits to cover them.
"This step will improve AMA's revenue generation as recalcitrant advertisers will now see the need to pay their taxes for development."
Mr. Francis Dadzie, a member of the Advertising Association of Ghana (AAG) and also the AMA Technical Committee on Outdoor Advertising said, "there is a procedure to follow to acquire the right to erect a billboard but most people ignore it and do their own thing."
He explained that an advertiser is expected to pay between ¢52 million and one million annually, depending on the size of billboard.
"As I speak to you, most advertisers are erecting new billboards without paying anything while others have failed to renew old permits."
He said the committee is expected to achieve a ¢10 billion revenue target adding "we already have ¢6 billion and this exercise will help us generate the rest before the year ends."
Mr. Dadzie announced that from 2008, no individual directional signs will be permitted saying "we are going to enforce and insist on group directional signs".
He dispelled rumours that the exercise was being carried out because of the impending African Cup of Nations to be held in January, explaining that "this has been a routine exercise."
We were initially not working due to logistical constraints."