The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), has said it will remove billboards mounted illegally in the metropolis.

Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, an advertising consultant with the AMA, John Yankah, said the AMA is targeting removing all illegal billboards by April 2017.

“We are targeting not only the recently mounted illegal billboards, but we are also looking at boards that were put out during the political campaigning that did not come through the due process. One of our targets is to ensure that these boards are removed before the rainy season, in April. The work is in progress. If you roam around the city, you will see cranes and AMA staff removing boards.”

Mr. Yankah’s comments followed Tuesday’s rainstorm that saw a number of billboards in Accra collapsed by the strong winds. This brought to the fore the safety risks some of the billboards pose to the public.

AMA part of the problem

Prior to Mr. Yankah speaking, the Executive Director of the Advertising Association of Ghana (AAG), Francis Dadzie, said the AMA was complicit in the billboard problem because it put revenue generation over public safety.

According to Mr. Dadzie, the National Road Safety Commission, the Ghana Highways Authority, the Police and the AAG tried to ensure best standards were adhered to with a programme in 2016, but he said the AMA opposed them.

“We tried to enforce some of these standards and regulations, but the city authorities opposed us, they didn’t support the concept because of their revenue generation. They were looking at that over public safety issues. It is so easy to put up a billboard like standing by the road side to buy food in Ghana because the city authorities look at revenue generation as a priority over every other thing.”

Billboard issue not about standards

Mr. Yankah however said the matter with the billboards stretched beyond simply adhering to standards.

“The issue is not solely about standards. The issue is about interference and not conforming to the criteria… the Advertising Association of Ghana is not an exception in all of this. They are also part of some of the illegal works that go out there because they will not conform to criteria by the Assembly.”

He lamented that, attempts to enforce the regulations are disrupted by politicians and in some cases, the AAG itself.

“We need strong political will to support the agents managing and regulating the outdoors to ensure that these advertisers do not flout the law,” Mr. Yankah stated.

By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana

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