By: Bernice Bessey
Traders at the Makola Market have expressed worry over the notion that the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) would involve private individuals and companies in the development and reconstruction of the market.
According to them, private involvement in the affairs of the market would increase the rental rates of the stalls and tolls, which they cannot afford.
One of the traders, who gave her name as Aku, told the Accra File that after the renovation of Makola No1, which is now the Makola Shopping Mall, the shops were given out at expensive rates, such that most of them who had originally settled there, could not afford them.
She noted that the shops were also allocated to certain groups of individuals, and added that the renovation of the market with private involvement had created the fear that they would lose their stalls.
Meanwhile the Mayor of Accra, Dr. Alfred Oko Vandepuije, in a press conference, assured the traders of the AMA not ejecting them, relocating the market, or selling it to private individuals, as had been carried out in certain publications.
According to the Mayor, the need for private involvement was to upgrade the markets with modern facilities, saying: “The idea is to bring on board public involvement, and open the gap for private investment and partnership.”
“The markets need to be operated under hygienic and safe environments, because this is where we get our food from,” he stressed.
“The key idea is we want private partnership, because the AMA cannot do it alone, and would give opportunities for private investment,” he stated.
He said that some of the markets like Salaga and Tuesday had their stalls empty, with the traders were selling outside, while at others such as the Mallam Atta and Maamobi, the traders complained of the lack of stalls, toilet facilities, and poor drainage systems.
He emphasised that the assembly had not sold any market in Accra, and had no plans of relocating Makola to the Ga West District, Amasaman, and urged the traders to continue with their positive work to support their families, and the country as a whole.
At the various markets visited, the File noted that the structures were in deplorable states, the floors not concreted, and no proper storage structures to keep their wares in.