A 72-year-old trader of the Kumasi Central market, Madam Akosua Serwaa has petitioned the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II to consider suspending the roll out of the 2nd phase of the Kejetia project.
She wants the commencement of the 2nd phase of the project suspended till Christmas is over to enable them earn a livelihood when demand and clientele are expected to soar.
Madam Akosua Serwaa, on behalf of the larger trading community at the Kumasi Central Market, has suggested that the government goes about the second phase of systematically rolling out the project step by step, in order to save lives and protect the economic empowerment of the traders at a time trading is viable.
The redevelopment of the Kumasi Central Market at €248 million is being financed by the Deutsche Bank of Germany, with export credit guarantee from the United Kingdom Export Finance (UKEF) for which the President and the Asantehene jointly cut the sod in May this year.
Messrs Contracta from the United Kingdom have 48-months to complete the second phase of the project which is expected to house 6,500 leasable commercial spaces, 5,400closed stores; 800 kiosks, 50 restaurants and 210 fishmonger and butcher stores, 40 livestock stores, among others.
The project, according to the President, is expected to provide 900 direct jobs and 2,500 indirect jobs to improve the lot of residents.
But Madam Serwaa observed that, the project, if rolled out, will displace traders and would add to the hardship of the traders and make life unbearable for them as Christmas approaches.
According to her, trading is the main livelihood of a greater number of residents and that any activity and programme that tend to affect their source of income and livelihood is bound to endanger their lives.
“The situation could even be chaotic if the traders are not properly resettled after the relocation”.
She noted that the exercise would affect the commercial activities and livelihood of the traders when thousands are expected to throng Kumasi for commercial activities.
She said it is now evidently clear that most of the traders are facing difficulties in raising the required premium in payment for the occupation of stores to be allocated at the Kejetia market against the fact that most of the traders cannot raise the premium to finalise allocation processes for occupation.
She said the prevailing situation currently is tension and fear, especially when traders are uncertain when the relocation exercise begins and where they would be resettled.
The old lady feared traders might not be properly resettled as it happened to those who were relocated in 2015 and are yet to be relocated.
Madam Serwaa said besides the unforeseen and inherent hardships, any move, contrary to the expectations of the traders would make the government unpopular and affect the electoral fortunes of the ruling party in the region.
The petitioner disclosed that traders are already seething with anger following the unbearable situation created by the displacement of traders at the Kejetia since 2015, and are threatening to boycott the 2020 elections if they are not properly resettled.
It is against this background that Madam Serwaa is urging government to hasten slowly in implementing the 2nd phase of the Kejetia project and suspend the commencement of the 2nd phase of the project till Christmas is over, to enable them adjust and adapt to the situation.
She called for combined presidential and royal efforts to address the issue and hoped that the swift intervention of the President and His Royal Majesty will help resolve the issue and save lives from the current tensed situation.
Madam Serwaa, however, assured the President of the commitment of traders to supporting the government and traditional authority to sustain the economic empowerment of traders and Ghanaians in general.