Businesses along Nima gutter: Traders brace for floods as rains set in

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Wed, 13 May 2020 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Traders along the Nima gutter used the June 3rd flood as a reference to express their fears of losing more property again this year as a result of the open drain which they have described as a death trap.

As though they had rehearsed, they described the unfortunate June 3rd disaster as the worst-case scenario they had ever experienced while going about their routines along the gutter which separates Maamobi from Nima.

Yet, they have no other plans of relocating their businesses elsewhere. Their only escape strategy is folding up business at the slightest sign of rain.

After Sunday’s heavy downpour, GhanaWeb zoomed in to some businesses along the Nima gutter to find out how they mounted defences against a possible loss of property and what their preparations have been so far to welcome the rainy season.

Their responses, however, were largely along the lines of neglect on the part of authority and the lack of other viable options for them.

Businesses along the drain

It may appear inappropriate or unhygienic to learn that cattle and other livestock are reared along a drain in the middle of the community, but that is only a fraction of the types of businesses along the Nima gutter. Scrap dealers, block moulders, mobile money vendors, fish sellers, food vendors and several others are all cramped up along the Nima gutter.

We pay levies and fees to be here

On the issue of neglect, the business owners told GhanaWeb that they pay levies and charges for the spaces to the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and Ayawaso East Municipal Assembly, yet they see no improvement in their situation.

Some, quoted amounts which ranged from GHC50 - GHC80 depending on the size of the shop. Also, businesses on temporary structures pay tolls from GHC2 up a day.

“But for the outbreak of the coronavirus, you’d have come to meet them here taking fees from us. These days they’ve stopped coming,” a trader told the news team.

Traders along the Nima gutter don’t have permits

Based on their responses, GhanaWeb followed up to speak to authorities at the Ayawaso East Municipal Assembly to find out their actions in that regard.

The Municipal Director at the Physical Planning Department, Baba Yakubu Mahamah told GhanaWeb’s Portia Etornam in an exclusive interview that the Assembly has done all there is to clear such businesses off the edge of the gutter but all their attempts have proven futile.

He emphatically stated that such business people have no permits or authorization to conduct business along the Nima gutter, however, removing them have been difficult. He explained that most of such traders live in the area and spring up few days after their evacuation.

With regards to the payments of levies and charges, he said those are fees they ought to pay as business people not for permit or authorization to use such spaces.

We’re putting measures in place

Mr Yakubu Mahamah indicated that the Assembly has undertaken several decongestion exercises, which they largely attached a humanistic face to.

In the meantime, he said the Assembly is working on relocating some scrap dealers, cattle herders to more appropriate places to ensure that no life or property is lost this rainy season.

However, he did not give any timelines for decongesting the area.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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