Bishop John Yaw Adu of the New Jerusalem Chapel based at Sokoban-Ampeyoo, near Kumasi, has called on government to quickly take steps to abolish the taxation of female head porters, popularly known as kayayei.
He said it is very shameful and wrong for the country to impose taxes on girls who carry goods for a living when the country has failed to educate and provide them with meaningful jobs.
“Are we a country without shame?” he asked. He went on to add that no respectable country in the world does that and government should quickly move in to direct the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to desist from taxing kayayei.
“These taxes are not even put to good uses as we continue to lack several social amenities” he said.
He holds the view that it is the responsibility of government to put in place measures that can lead to job creation to get the citizens to work hard and live decently.
Bishop Adu said if government has failed to do this, and the young industrious girls have decided to leave the comfort of their homes to seek a living, taxing them should be the last thing in the minds of every responsible government.
He said the girls could have decided to engage themselves in social vices such as prostitution but they have instead decided to properly seek a living albeit laboriously.
“It is very bad, very shameful to see young girls on the streets of Accra, Tema, and Kumasi carrying heavy loads when they should be in the classrooms studying or learning some skills” he said.
“The leaders of this country should quickly take steps to stop the taxation of kayayei in this country and rather introduce measures to educate them or teach them some form of trade of skills” he added.
Shortly before the 2012 general elections, issues concerning the kayayei were heavily debated between the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), with each party promising to introduce measures to address the challenges of the head porters.
However, since coming into power, the NDC government has not said about the kayayei again and it is not clear whether President John Mahama and his administration have any plans for the unfortunate girls.