Business News of 2014-07-22

Traders kick against KMA’s plan to reconstruct burnt market

While comforting traders of the Kumasi Central Market which was destroyed by fire, the Chief Executive of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), Mr Kojo Bonsu, last Saturday announced the approval for the disbursement of the first tranche of a $259 million Brazilian loan earmarked for the construction of a modern market in six months.
But, in spite of the news, being one of good tidings it still did not stop the traders from going ahead with the reconstruction works using their own efforts and resources.
The loan
Last Friday, Parliament approved $172.5 million for the first phase of a three-phase project that is expected to take off tentatively in January next year. But the traders, who earlier had defied a directive from the Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Samuel Sarpong, not to reconstruct their shops and stalls, also rebuffed the Mr Bonsu assurances and continued with the construction of temporary structures to enable them to stay in business.
Mr Bonsu, who was in Parliament to convince members of Parliament (MPs), particularly those from the Ashanti Region, to approve the loan facility following the incident, empathised with the traders during his tour of the burnt market, promising that the assembly would not short-change any of the victims in the reallocation of space after the reconstruction exercise.
He said his outfit would meet with the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) and the security agencies to ensure that they were properly taken care of while they awaited the major reconstruction works.
The chief executive commended in particular MPs from the region for unanimously backing the assembly’s reconstruction efforts and their support which ensured that the loan for the project was approved.
Mr Bonsu showed model drawings that indicated that all the traders had been factored in the plan for the new market. While work on the project will be ongoing, the affected traders will be shifted round strategically to ensure that neither their businesses nor the project was affected unnecessarily.
The long wait
The Kumasi Central Market project has been on the drawing board for more than 20 years, with successive governments failing to secure the needed funding for its implementation.
By good fortune, the KMA with the backing of the present government, struck a deal with the Brazilian government to have the project started. When completed the Kumasi Central Market project is expected to open up the region for brisk business.
Mr Bonsu said at the moment the satellite markets at Atonso, Tafo and Asawase were being developed under a different programme as part of a broad scheme of opening up the region for enhanced commercial activities.
About 100 shops were burnt to ashes at the Kumasi Central Market last Thursday night. The cause of the fire is still under investigation but some traders alleged that they suspected someone might have failed to completely put out a fire he or she had used.
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