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26.10.2005 Regional News

Oguaa assembly security men lock out market women

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Cape Coast, Oct 26, GNA - Commercial activities at Kotokuraba, the main market in the Cape Coast Municipality, on Tuesday came to a standstill for more than three hours when security personnel of the Cape Coast Municipal Assembly (CCMA), refused to unlock the gates in protest against three months' salary arrears.

Explaining their action to newsmen, they said they were finding life unbearable due to the severe economic hardship and were baffled as to why the CCMA could not pay them their "meagre monthly salaries of just between 150,000 and 200,000 cedis".

They said their action would have continued but for the intervention and assurances from Mr Muniru Arafat Nuhu, the Municipal Chief Executive, and the police.

When contacted, Mr Nuhu said the assembly was ''cash strapped" because it has been unable to retrieve about one billion cedis owed it by some market women who benefited from the Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF).

Also, property rates amounting to more than one billion cedis were yet to be paid.

Mr Nuhu said cheques had been issued to enable the workers collect their salaries but added that the assembly would now adopt tough measures to retrieve monies owed it by market women and property owners with possible prosecution of defaulters.

He said the assembly would also monitor the activities of its security men and revenue collectors, some of whom collude with market women and traders to cheat the assembly and questioned how "an assembly of such calibre receives just 2.5 million cedis daily from its revenue collectors.''

He appealed to the central government to absorb the salaries of workers of the assembly as it has dome for other assemblies in the country to ease the strain on the CCMA's finances.

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