Ashanti Regional Minister-designate, Simon Osei Mensah, has backed the call of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly to relocate traders at Central market to other satellite markets in Greater Kumasi.
The minister, however, gave the traders at the Kumasi Central Market up till midnight of March 13th,2021 to relocate from their present location.
The Minister-designate says the refusal by traders to relocate could affect the second phase of the Central Market redevelopment project.
He is worried that the continued delays may affect access to the loan facility to be used for the project.
KMA Boss Osei Assibey
Mr. Osei Mensah, who spoke to media practitioners in Kumasi, warned that traders will be forcefully evicted from the area if they refuse to relocate. This is because the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly has persuaded them for long and if persuasion fails, force must be applied.
According to the minister, if KMA and for that matter, the regional coordinating Council delay till the end of March and April comes, they are going to have extreme difficulties with accessing the loan that has been granted them hence the need to apply force to relocate them.
“Come 13th March 2021 is their last chance, we will not give them additional chance to operate because they thwarting the development of Kumasi and this cannot happen anywhere.
We initially gave them March 7 deadline to relocate but they proved adamant, come 13th March is the deadline, this time no mercy,” he added.
It is evident that the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly has other satellite markets well furnished with electricity, toilet facilities, and other side attractions to accommodate these traders for a certain period before they are moved back when the phase II of the central market redevelopment project is complete, yet these recalcitrant traders don’t want to move and have resulted in selling on pavements and on the streets with reasons best known to them without thinking about the progress of the city.
Authorities have made it clear that, by midnight of 13th March 2021, anybody or any trader that has not removed his or her items from the place, if the person comes to find the place demolished or the place graded down, they will not receive any complaints. Said, the regional minister.
“We will not wait and look on for us to lose this project,” he stressed further.
Some traders who are refusing to relocate had pulled down the barricade erected at the project site by contractors.
Community Liaison Officer for Contrata, the construction firm executing the project, Emmanuel Danso also complained that traders were not cooperating as he welcomed the minister’s ultimatum.
“Yesterday there was a lot of mess. They were even throwing stones at our workers, but we are in to develop Kumasi, not to destroy,” Mr. Danso said.
Speaking to the Kumasi Mayor (Hon. Osei Assibey Antwi) on the above development, he said he only acts as the minister speaks.