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Regional News of Sunday, 22 December 2013

Source: Daily Guide

Chemical sellers threaten strike

The 13,000 licensed chemical shops across the country risk closure in January 2014, if government does not rescind its decision to increase levies and training fees for shop owners.

The Mahama-led government had been accused of over-burdening licensed chemical sellers with 300 percent to 1000 percent increment for license and renewals of licenses as well as fees for training.

This disclosure was made by Togbui Adela Dartey III, Chief of Weta, who is also President of the Ghana National Chemical Sellers Association in an interview.

He said the arbitrary increase was due to the fact that the Association has no representation on the regulating body which is the Pharmacy Council.

“We are 13,000 members, but we are not consulted on matters affecting us and our businesses because we have no representation on the Pharmacy Council,” Togbui noted and stressed that the Association needed to have its members represented on the council to fight for their interest.

Togbui Dartey sternly called on the government to immediately withdraw the new fees which were approved by Parliament effective January 2, 2014.

This, he noted, was without recourse to the association.

He explained that license renewable which cost Ghc20 had been increased to Ghc60; cost for training programme which was GH¢10 had been increased to GH¢100, charges Togbui Dartey said were too high for his members to afford.

He, therefore, issued an ultimatum that should government go ahead to impose the new fees, his association would shut down all the 13,000 chemical shops in protest.

In a petition copied to the Health Minister, Sherry Ayittey, Secretary to Cabinet and Chairman of Parliamentary Select Committee on Subsidiary Legislation amongst others, signed by the president and secretary of the association, they noted their members played crucial role in primary health care delivery especially in the rural areas.

Clearly, the association according to the petition considered the introduction of the new fees as means to deprive rural farmers, women and children of basic health care needs.

This is because licensed chemical sellers are mostly the first and only health care persons who could be consulted in most rural places.

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