Head porters demand to be exempted from tax payments

Head porters in the Ashanti region are unhappy with city authorities’ decision to levy them daily for their operations.

Members of the Ashanti regional branch of the Kayayei Youth Association say it’s unacceptable for assemblies to overburden poor and vulnerable head porters with market tolls.

Secretary of the association, Dauda Ibrahim wants metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to grant head porters tax exemptions.

On the streets of Kumasi, they balance heavy loads on their heads. It’s a daily struggle for survival.

Over 19,000 registered porters live and operate in the Ashanti region alone. The porters, mostly from northern Ghana are in the south in search of greener pastures. But they are taxed daily by city tax collectors.

Speaking to Nhyira FM at a two-day workshop organized by the Gender, Children and Social Protection Ministry in Kumasi, spokesperson for the porters Dauda Ibrahim called on government to exclude kayayeis from taxes.

“It’s not fair. Why will you tax kayayo? For what reason? The thing is; kayayo should not be taxed. They do not have. Then why should you tax them again?” Mr. Ibrahim quizzed.

Life they say is not rosy as many of the kayayeis are homeless. The women among them are sometimes raped. With no social support for them, the porters struggle to cater for their own health needs.

“Some of them [porters] they come they don’t have places to sleep. They sleep outside. The men will come and rape them. Sometimes the rape, we send them to DOVVSU”. Mr. Ibrahim said.

Mr. Ibrahim who appealed for support for the kayayei made a chilling account on how kayayeis have been living their lives in Kumasi.

“Sometimes we are forced to beg for money to settle the bills of a sick kayayei at the hospital. Their immediate need as at now, they have no access to healthcare. They have no access to health insurance cards because they have no money to go to the hospital and pay.If the government will come out to help them; register it for them freely, they are there to do it freely”.

Meanwhile, Ashanti Regional Director of Department of Gender, Augustina Gyamfi who is worried at the situation says the ministry is focusing on improving the lives of kayayeis.

It’s a story of the vulnerable being made more vulnerable, they say.

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