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07.01.2008 General News

Tema profits from ban on expensive funerals

By The Times
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Two years after banning expensive funerals in the Tema traditional area, a significant improvement has been recorded in the care of orphans, widows and other surviving relatives, the Tema Mantse, Nii Adzei Kraku II, has told the Times.

Furthermore, some revenue has been realised from fines paid by families who contravened the ban.

Prior to the ban, families in the area organised expensive funerals where they wore special cloths and spent lots of money on drinks and food to entertain guests, to the detriment of surviving family member.

The tema traditional area constitutes Tema township itself and Ashaiman.

Briefing the Times on the effect of the ban at the weekend, the Tema Mantse said GHc2,500 had been realised in fines imposed on six families in the area who contravened the ban.

He explained that the fines ranged between GHc100 and GHc500 depending on the severity of the contravention.

He said the organisation of expensive funerals in the past had left in its wake, many street children who had dropped out of school and widows who found it difficult to make ends meet.

"This is because, previously, whether families were well-to-do or not, they tried to outdo others by organising what was commonly known as befitting funerals for their departed relatives by borrowing money which often they were unable to afford," he said.

As a result, some surviving children and widows or widowers became destitutes.

He said this prompted the Traditional Council to meet the various clan houses and undertakers in the area to review the funeral expenses after which on July 18, 2005, it passed a by-law to regulate funeral expenses.

The regulation, among other things, banned the use of special cloths for every funeral. It also slashed, by one-third, expenses on food, drinks and other items.

He said the reduction in funeral expenses has resulted in better care of bereaved children and widows, while more of the children have remained in school.

Source: The Times

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