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20.01.2006 Regional News

Koforidua traders protest

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Koforidua, Jan. 20, GNA - Market women within the New Juaben Municipality on Thursday thronged the Municipal Assembly in protest against new market tolls and fees introduced recently. According to the market women, the assembly unilaterally imposed the new fess and tolls on them without their notice or prior consultations.

The women who had red bands on their hands and chanting "yentua" (we won't pay) with regard to the sudden high fees and tolls that would negatively affect their operations.

They said the new fees and tolls imposed by the assembly, increased the business operation licence fee from 5,000 cedis to 30,000 cedis and monthly rent of stores from 11,000 cedis to 38,000 cedis for small containers and kiosks and from 15,000 cedis to 45,000 cedis for large containers or market stores.

The daily hawkers' toll was increased from 1,000 to 2,000 cedis. In an interview with the market queen, Nana Ama Bonsu, she complained that despite the previous fees they paid, the assembly failed to provide them with basic facilities such as place of convenience and potable water yet the assembly found it prudent to increase the fees and tolls.

She said they would resist the imposition of the high fees and tolls on them and in addition, ensure the assembly lived up to its responsibilities to provide them with their needs to operate efficiently.

Some of the women who had stalls at the Zongo market, also accused the assembly of poor sanitation and lack of basic facilities there leading to low patronage of their wares at the market, yet they paid the same fees and tolls as those operating in the central market. They marched to the Eastern Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC) for a meeting with Mr Yaw Barimah, Eastern Regional Minister, but was not present.

Mr Sylvester Manu, Eastern Regional Co-ordinating Director, who met the women, asked them to exercise patience to investigate the issue to ensure that their concerns were addressed. Leaders of the market women were attending a meeting with Nana Adjei Boateng, New Juaben Municipal Chief Executive and other officials of the Assembly.