General News of Friday, 6 February 2015
Source: Today Newspaper
Today can report that some cold store operators in Santa-Maria Last Stop in the Ga Central Municipal Assembly of the Greater Accra region are selling unwholesome fish and meat products to unsuspecting residents in the area.
A visit to some cold stores by this paper in Santa-Maria Last Stop recently revealed how some unsuspecting residents were patronising unwholesome fish and meat products from the various cold stores because of present regime of erratic power supply in the country.
That situation, Today learnt, was affecting many cold store businesses in the area where the most affected were those who did not have generators.
Today observed that in most cases the fish and meat products had rotten in the refrigerators which stench did not scare residents who patronized the products.
In an interview with Today, some cold store operators who pleaded condition of anonymity admitted that what they were indeed selling to consumers were not good for human consumption. According to them, the cold store business heavily depended on electricity for preservation of stocks. However, they lamented that the current power outages in the country known in local parlance as “dumsor, dumsor’’ has now forced cold store operators to resort to the use of generators which are powered by fuel to keep refrigerators running.
That development, they bemoaned, kept worsening with each passing day, as they were compelled to buy unspecified quantities of fuel as backup for power-generators.
A manager of one of the leading cold stores at Blue Kiosk in Santa Maria who spoke on condition of anonymity disclosed to this reporter that: “I now have to buy about two barrels of diesel a day to fuel my generators at a cost of GHC930.”
According to the manager, the company spends about GHC3,000 every month on prepaid credit to run operations when there is regular power.
But unfortunately the manager averred that the present circumstances now force them to spend the said amount within weeks which was almost five times the amount of money initially the company spent on prepaid credit for fuel.
The worry of the manager was that if the situation continued for a month they would have to spend about GHC13,950 on fuel to power his generators.
And despite the cost involved in running cold store, he noted that the frequent power fluctuations had also caused serious damage to their equipment.
“A lot of the cold store operators can hardly make any meaningful sales.
Huge sums of money are already spent on power to preserve fish and meat stock. We used to sell about GHC40,000 worth of fish and other products within a day; but as we speak, we can barely sell GHC5,000,” he lamented.
The irony of the situation is that the stock of fish and meat products sold in most cold stores in the country are imported, and attract a lot of import duties and other costs to transport them to the hinterlands.