The decision of the Paramount chief of Buipe in Gonjaland Kingdom, Buipewura Abdulai Mahama Jinapor II to impose a 20 pesewa levy on the transportation of cement, has been met with resistance.
Cement distributors within the traditional jurisdiction of the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions are challenging the righteousness of this royal edict.
An impasse between the two now exists.
For the Buipe Traditional Council, this special transportation levy is a form of royalty to the palace which sits among communities where poverty is a popular sight than projects
The traditional council, looking for sources of inflows, would have noticed the commercial impact of the citing of Savanna Diamond Cement (SDCL) factory at Buipe more than two years ago.
The $90m factory commissioned by President John Mahama in April 2015, has kicked up commerce in the Northern Region. Factory needs workers, workers need food, food needs to be healthy as a chain reaction of demand for different services is triggered.
The 20p special transportation levy on cement distribution is seen by the traditional rulers as a good way to raise funds for the Gonja kingdom.
The amount buys sachet water and is more useful for change on commercial buses unlike the fading relevance of its 5pesewa counterpart.
But slapped on each 50Kg bag of cement in the several truckloads of cement transported all across three neighboring regions even into Burkina Faso, the chicken change becomes a fat cow – a cash cow.
The chiefs have threatened to stop the transportation of cement into the three regions of the north if the Association of Cement Distributors do not cooperate with the kingdom up north.
The three regions of the north cover 46.4% of the country. A blockade will be nothing short of a businessman's nightmare.
Faced with the 20p slap on cement bag transportation, the Association of Cement Distributors have warned of a slap of their own.
They have threatened to push the extra cost on their clients, increasing the price of a bag which stands at GHC29.
In effect, the distributors may pay the levy but it is clients who will really pay the price.
Residents have, at the moment, not issued any threat of their own either to the Buipe Traditional Council or the cement distributors.
In this prevailing atmosphere of gridlock, the Northern Regional Minister, Salifu Saeed was asked to prevail on the Buipewura, Abdulai Mahama Jinapor II to rescind the decision.
According to the businessmen, this political intervention has not worked. The traditional council appear unimpressed by the force of political power at the minister's disposal.
"…it seems he is not being listened to' Chairman of the Association of Cement Distributors, Abdul Razak Yahaya told Joy News.
Politicians have been warned to be wary in their dealings with chiefs especially in places where chieftaincy disputes exit.
Buipe has a previous history.
The jubilation by the Jinapor gate following the Appeals Court ruling in their favour led to violent clashes between the two gates in Buipe on the 5th of March, 2011.
But for now, the dispute is about 20pesewas on a bag of cement – for development.
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