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STMA rejects business operating fees from small scale industries

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The Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA), has refused to accept business operating fees totalling GH¢1,100, paid by the Regional branch of the Association of Small Scale Industries (ASSI).

This is because the ASSI was not authorised to collect the fees on behalf of the assembly.

The assembly, however, accepted first collection of the fees amounting to GH¢1,600 but rejected the second fees, compelling the ASSI to keep GH¢1,100 for the past three months.

Mr. Opoku Boateng, Public Affairs Manager of the STMA, explained to the GNA in Takoradi on Wednesday that the ASSI had no authority to collect fees on behalf of the STMA hence refusal to accept the money by the Finance Officer of the Assembly.

According to Mr. Opuku, the Revenue Mobilisation Officer of the STMA, who collected the first fees of GH¢1,600, has been queried.

Mr. Opoku explained that the ASSI members were operating different businesses, therefore, they were not to pay flat fees of GH¢10.00 per annum because the fees had been categorised ranging between GH¢10.00 and GH¢20.00 yearly, depending on their trades.

The Public Affairs Manager said STMA officials would meet with the ASSI members to discuss the issues thoroughly.

The executive members of the ASSI called at the Takoradi office of the GNA, and threatened that their members would embark on a demonstration to compel the STMA to seek audience with them to discuss vital issues confronting the association.

They mentioned pertinent issues bordering the association as fee fixing, billing, categorisation, collection and payments of business operating license, fees and the refusal of the assembly to collect the fees.

The executives are Mr. Isaac Okwan Duodu, Secretary, Mr Issa Kofi Ackaah, Organiser and Madam Elizabeth Yeboah, complained that despite the association’s several letters and reminders to the assembly, calling for a meeting to express their concerns, it had persistently refused to reply.

They produced letters and reminders written since May 2009 to date, some addressed to the Metropolitan Chief Executive, Finance Officer and the Coordinating Director of the Assembly, seeking audience, which had not been responded to.

“We have exhausted all diplomatic approach and the only option left was for us to come to the Ghana News Agency to put our case across and to embark of demonstration to compel the STMA to invite and listen to us”, the three executive members stated.

They said the executives realised that their members were subjected to harassment by revenue collectors for their inability to pay the fees of GH¢10.00 per annum promptly.

The executives said that they notified the assembly about the situation and decided to collect the fees in instalments, at their meeting days until they got the full amount from each member for submission to the STMA.

They said realizing this method would rather make it easier for all members to honour their obligations, the executives wrote a letter to the STMA to inform them of their intention to collect the fees for the assembly.

“Based upon this an amount of GH¢1,600.00 was collected and paid to the Revenue Mobilisation Officer who accepted it and we made a second collection of GH¢1,100.00, which was rather rejected for no explanation and the amount is in our coffers”, they stated.

Mr. Duodu said present membership of the ASSI stands at 1,515, comprising photographers, dressmakers, hairdressers, traditional caterers, carpenters, and bakers.

Source: GNA

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