Business News of Sunday, 29 June 2014
Source: Graphic Online
Traders at the Mallam Market in Accra still sell in the open one-and-half years after their shops were razed down by fire. Since the incident, the traders have not had any proper structures put up for them; not even temporary structures befitting a market. The situation has forced them to sell at the mercy of the weather.
With their tables and umbrellas that barely cover them, the traders are still determined to eke out a living in spite of the harsh weather conditions sometimes. In fact, with the onset of the rains, their fear is that business activities could become very slow since both the traders and customers would have difficulties shopping in the wet conditions.
On October 15, 2012, fire gutted the Mallam market destroying properties worth thousands of cedis. According to eyewitnesses, the fire started at about 6 a.m. in one of the stores and quickly spread to other shops.
On October 19, 2012, the Daily Graphic reported that bulldozers had begun clearing the burnt site for reconstruction work to begin. The Coordinator of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) in the office of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Mr Joseph Otoo, was quoted in the report as saying that the intervention of the assembly in the reconstruction of the market had not been budgeted for.
The report further quoted Mr Otoo stating that, “the mayor himself has promised the women that he will see to the reconstruction of the market and so that is what we are doing.” In the report, Mr Otoo maintained that raw materials had already been conveyed to the site.
He said when clearing of the debris was finished; the area would be levelled with laterite to pave way for permanent structures to be mounted by the weekend. However one-and-a-half years later, no structures have been built to house the traders. The Daily Graphic visited the market on a day after a heavy downpour. At the time, the traders were seen in wet clothes sitting behind their wares.
Food items such as yam, cassava, plantain and the like were left in the rain while perishable items such as gari had been covered with rubber sheets to shield them from the rain.
On that day, a number of traders had also abandoned their wares to seek shelter elsewhere, while others took shelter under umbrellas, with their heads covered in polythene. In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Chairman of the Mallam Market Traders Association, Mr Nat Wystan Beaumontt, observed that the state of the market presently was hampering business activities.
According to him, thieves had taken over the place and they broke into boxes belonging to the traders. He said the thieves usually made off with valuables and money from the day’s sales. He said on number of occasions, the traders had been assaulted by armed men who even attempted to rape some of the women.
“We have no place to sell; we trade here because we do not have anywhere else to sell and we have families to take care of,” the traders said. A trader told the Daily Graphic that the market had no place of convenience, a situation that forced them to use a rubbish dump site behind the market any time they had the urge to attend the call of nature.
Under the circumstances, the traders have appealed to the government to put up a decent place of convenience for them. “We are asking the government to come to our aid. If it does nothing about our situation, things will really go bad for us,” they said.
In a telephone interview with Dr Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, the Chief Executive Officer of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), he said the assembly still stood by its plans to reconstruct the market. He said reconstruction works would soon begin, and promised traders at the Mallam Market of a decent marketplace.