Market fire victims unable to access funds to support them

About GH¢89,000 of the fund provided by the government to support traders who suffered losses as a result of market fires last year is still at the bank because those who are supposed to benefit from the fund provided invalid identities.

According to a source close to the Stanbic Bank, which is responsible for disbursing the funds, the bank had challenges of incorrect account numbers and names provided by some of the traders.

The source told the Daily Graphic that about 6,370 traders out of the 7,381 who registered to access the funds had received their money because their details were valid, while the remaining 1,011 had not received it because of incorrect account numbers and names.

It said Stanbic officials were waiting for the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to facilitate the process of authenticating victims’ details so that the bank could disburse the rest of the money to them. Background  

A number of fire outbreaks occurred at some markets in Accra and Kumasi in 2013 which resulted in substantial loss of property by some traders that affected their livelihood.

The affected markets were Kantamanto, Dome, Makola Shopping Mall and Makola Number Two in the Greater Accra Region and Kumasi Central in the Ashanti Region.

Following the incident, President John Dramani Mahama directed the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to earmark GH¢5 million as an emergency fund to support the affected traders.

Out of the amount, GH¢2 million was supposed to be disbursed to the traders to cushion them and minimise their plight, while GH¢3 million was to be used for reconstruction activities at the affected markets.

The GH¢2 million was presented in August 2013 through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to be disbursed through the Stanbic Bank to the traders in the two regions. Traders frustrated 

 Since the money was released in August, 2013, GH¢1, 911,000 has been disbursed to the traders at the various markets, with each person receiving GH¢300. 

Meanwhile, some of the traders at the Kantamanto Market in Accra said they had not been told of the specific reason they had not received their money. 

“I have been to Stanbic but they said my name did not appear so I should wait. I have been waiting since last year but I have still not got it,” a trader, Abdulai Bugadam, said.

The traders who had not received their money appealed to the government to look into the issues well and ensure that they got their part of the fund.

Others who said they could not register during the process pleaded that they be given the chance to do so for them to benefit from the fund.

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