Business News of Sunday, 22 January 2017
Traders who used to ply their trade at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle prior to the construction of the interchange are back in business despite efforts by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly(AMA) to keep them away.
When the €74 million project was inaugurated by the immediate past President John Mahama officials of the AMA and some military task force kept traders and hawkers away from selling close to the interchange.
The biggest interchange in West Africa, christened ‘Ghana Dubai,’ added to the country’s skyline, eased traffic flow and saved the country some money but many people raised concerns about the maintenance culture of Ghanaians.
Checks by The Mirror days after the 2016 elections showed that petty traders and hawkers have taken all available spaces at the interchange often distracting drivers and other road users.
From bus terminals, pavements and roads that lead out of the bus terminals, traders had displayed all kinds of products including body skin care products, second-hand clothing and bags. Others have also created mini-structures to either sell phone accessories or repair phones.
Some of them brazenly displayed their wares on portions of the road at the expense of their lives, impeding the free movement of vehicles and pedestrians.
Sachet water, ice cream sellers and others who were previously prevented from selling within bus terminals are now seen plying their business freely.
A source at the AMA, who spoke to The Mirror on condition of anonymity, said officials of the assembly who were stationed at the facility were assaulted by some people believed to be supporters of the New Patriotic party (NPP) after the party was declared the winner in last year’s election.
The source explained that the constant harassment and threats became too much to bear and, therefore, the assembly decided to withdraw their men from the place.
‘The situation took a political dimension and we had also heard about several attacks across the county so we advised our men to abandon the place,” it said.
As a result, it said as at now, they were unaware about how the place was being managed.
In a chat with some traders, they claimed they came back to occupy spaces they previously occupied before the construction of the interchange.
One trader, Eric Offei, a phone repairer said the government should allow them to continue to trade there so that they can take care of their families.
Offei, who admitted that selling at such places obstructed movement, said the previous government should have provided market sheds for them as had been done for drivers.
It would be recalled that in an interview with some of the traders prior to the elections, they claimed the compensation package that was given to them when they were evicted to pave way for the construction was inadequate for their upkeep.
Mr Thomas Asante, who has been trading at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle since 1998, said the promise of finding them sheds to continue with their business had not been fulfilled.
A sachet water seller, who gave her name as Hannah, said petty traders like her were also no longer allowed into the bus terminals to sell.
She said defaulters were often fined GH¢20 and above and some unlucky ones had their wares confiscated.