Scores of poorly maintained and unauthorised billboards mounted along the Ring Road in Accra were pulled down last Saturday in a joint exercise by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the Advertisers Association of Ghana (AAG).
The exercise was undertaken to ensure that sanity prevailed in the city in so far as the placing of billboards is concerned.
During the exercise, billboards and signages that were wrongly placed, cluttered and posed a nuisance and threat to public safety, especially those at traffic intersections, were brought down.
Also removed were signage poles placed on pedestrian walkways and banners, posters and some structures that had been put up illegally.
The Executive Director of the AAG, Mr Francis Dadzie, explained that the de-cluttering exercise was also to allow for advertising boards placed lawfully to be made more visible.
He said even though he was sure some members of the association might be affected by the exercise, the association and the AMA were focused on doing what was in the interest of the nation for the safety and beautification of the city.
“Roads are constructed purposely for vehicles, while advertising is a secondary matter. Therefore, occupying such spaces must be done in a professional way,” he added.
Mr Dadzie advised players in the advertising industry to follow due processes and have their permits approved by the AMA.
He commended the assembly for collaborating with the association, adding that they would adopt a collaborative monitoring approach to ensure that sanity prevailed.
He urged the public and the media to support the exercise and report to the authorities advertising structures in the city that were wrongly placed.
“We are also collaborating with the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) and other assemblies to ensure that standards are enforced, otherwise businesses and companies will be affected adversely,” he said.
The Chief Executive of the AMA, Mr Mohammed Adjei Sowah, who led the team on the exercise, said permits for all billboards and signages expired at the end of December 2017 and that new permits to be granted would now be guided by a new advertising policy guideline.
He added that the process for obtaining advertising permits had been made easy, since the new SMART Out-of-Home Advertising Policy and Procedures was drafted.
He expressed concern over banners and posters that were hung haphazardly in the city and cautioned organisations and individuals engaged in the act to desist forthwith, as “the law will catch up with them”.
“If you move around Accra, you see a lot of banners that are hung illegally,” he added, and named tertiary institutions as the greatest culprits.