A TASK force, made up of members of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and the Outdoor Advertising Association, last Sunday embarked on a campaign to remove unauthorized billboards and banners from the metropolis.
The exercise, which took place in areas such as the Graphic Road, Awudome, Dimples junction at Djorwulu and Sprintex road, saw a lot of billboards for which owners had no permits, falling to the ground.
Some of the dismantled billboards included those of One Touch, Vega foods, Nil washing powder, Dasani purified water, and Quick fit services.
Explaining to the press why the assembly had taken that decision, Mr Francis Dadzie, a member of the committee, said companies affected by the exercise put up the structures without paying any levy to the assembly.
He noted that there was a procedure one needed to go through before one could mount any structure in the metropolis.
He explained that one first had to apply for a permit, after which a committee would be mandated to undertake an inspection of the site to ensure that the place chosen was good and that the structure would not pose any problem to road users when it is erected. The company intending to put up the billboard would then make payments for the permit to be issued.
According to Mr. Dadzie, the assembly gave prior notice to offenders but they failed to comply with the assembly's directives, hence the exercise.
He noted that when some of the offenders heard about the assembly's decongestion plans, they rushed to the office and made certain payments to the cashier without stating the purpose of the monies.
Mr. Dadzie stressed that those monies would not be recognized, and therefore advised persons who had gone to pay monies to the assembly to go for their refunds.
He said persons whose permits had expired as well as those who have their billboards or banners on their own compounds but had failed to pay half of the full fee as required by law, would also have their billboards pulled down soon.
As to how they could be in a position to identify those who did not go through the right procedure, Mr. Dadzie explained that legal billboards, signboards and banners have the stamp of AMA on them and that those without the stamps are considered illegal so would be removed.
He observed that the committee was aware that some people who paid for “small size” billboards turned round to erect huge ones, and warned that such people would be made to face the full rigours of the law.
He noted that advertising companies owed AMA billions of cedis, saying the assembly would therefore not sit unconcerned while these companies made huge sums of money without paying their levies.
In response to a question as to the action the assembly was taking against presidential aspirants of the various political parties who have their posters all around the city, Mr Timothy Oman, an event planning officer, said the Mayor had sent a complaint to the headquarters of the parties about that practice and was still waiting for a reply.
He stated also that there was another programme in the pipeline which would specifically tackle that of unauthorized posters.
By Mary Anane