…..Over AMA Property Rates Arrears
By Cecil Mensah
At a time many well-meaning Ghanaians, are raising concerns about the falling standards of education borne out of the lack of teaching and learning facilities, the only tertiary library facility aside the Ghana Library Board is being offered for sale for non-payment of property rates.
The operations of George Padmore Library, a respected research facility in the Accra Metropolis, have been brought to a standstill by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), over the failure of the managers of the library to pay property rate.
This comes at a time when the AMA is complaining about lack of funds. In spite of a goldmine of plush homes and commercial properties, including hotels, malls, shops, and companies in areas such as East Legon, Airport Residential Area, Dzorwulu, Abelemkpe, Roman Ridge and North Ridge, Cantonments, Haatso and many other places, where the AMA has overlooked when it comes to property rate collection.
George Padmore Library, owes a paltry Thousand Two Hundred and Fifty-Four, Eighty -Two Pesewas (GH¢1,254.82). For this reason, the city authorities have gone ahead to shutdown one of Ghana’s public libraries noted for research into Pan-Africanism in Accra and Africa. The facility is located near the Ridge Church School, not far from the Parliament House.
The library, which was named after one of the illustrious African-Americans, George Padmore, who was in the forefront of the struggle for African liberation and Pan-Africanism in the sixties, is gradually collapsing under the watchful eye of the Ministry of Education.
The library, has had its entrance barricaded by revenue officers of the AMA.
Since the library was barricaded, the workers have been idling about at the mercy of the scorching sun.
However, aside the property being offered for sale, there is also discontent among the staff; because a salary grading system used by the government to grade them, has downgraded them, thereby taking them off what they were initially enjoying as salaries. According to them, this has led to some of them taking paltry sum as salaries at the end of the month.
The library, which has been under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, has over the years been struggling to raise funds for the payment of services rendered by providers, including electricity and water bills.
Some aggrieved workers told The Herald that they nearly demonstrated when the government introduced the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSS) and the salary grading system.
Last Monday October 20, when The Herald visited the library, it was observed that the main entrance to the library was locked with the workers loitering about on the compound and turning away students and other prospective users of the facility.
The Herald further discovered a notice pasted by the AMA which reads “Final Warning Notice”.
The notice warns, “in spite of my many previous warning to you, it appears from our records that an amount of GH¢1254.82 is still owed by you in respect of House no. OSk 01017003 on the 2014 year(s) of assessment”.
The notice further asked occupants of the facility “to take notice that if the arrears are not paid on or before 24th day of Oct 2014, the metro Assembly may apply to the Court for an order for sale of the premises by way of motion for the purpose defraying the amount of rate due, pursuant to Section 104 and 106 of the Local Government Act 1993(Act 482) without any further reference to you”.
The notice was copied to the Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE), metro Co-coordinating Director, the Director of Budget and metro Solicitor.
But questions are being raised as to how many private properties have been served such notices in the Accra Metropolis by the AMA for failure to pay their property rates.
There are claims that a tall list of very influential personalities with deep pockets and political connections are interested in the purchase of the respected and world acclaimed library.
More to come!