Do decongestion with human face!

 It is good news to learn from the Accra Met­ropolitan Assembly (AMA) that having noticed that the trader population in Accra is ever increasing, it has adopted plans to redesign the markets in the Central Business District in Accra to accommodate more traders.

The assembly acknowl­edges that the streets are no-go area for selling, and so beginning this week, it will get the traders off the streets and pavements.

The Ghanaian Times appreciates moves by all assemblies in the country to ensure sanity in the system in one way or another.

In fact, the congestion in the city centre is a great nuisance for a number of reasons and needs to be eradicated.

Some people think the assemblies do not want to tackle it because their actions could jeopardise the fortunes of the ruling party in retaining power.

Therefore, it is a bold decision by the AMA to venture upon it, but much as we are not against the intended exercise, we plead that it must be delayed a bit to get the traders prepared for it.

We also plead that it should be done with hu­man face.

Oftentimes, we hear complaints of destruction of wares of some traders in decongestion exercises.

We also hear of harass­ments of the female traders in particular.

We should not lose sight of the fact that unemploy­ment or lack of jobs in

the country has forced some people into trading with the little capital they can gather.

Besides, for some wom­en especially, it is the petty trading they do which keeps them and their fami­lies going.

Therefore, their plight is worsened when these vulnerable people lose their capitals as a result of the decongestion exercise.

Sometimes, the way some of the district assembly guards treat the street hawkers in such exercises calls for much concern.

We therefore, think there must be a paradigm shift in which case there must be two or three phases of the exercise, with the first be­ing the period of education and persuasion.

This must be to seek the cooperation of the traders so that the downside of the exercise may not emerge at all.

These traders are equally important in the growth of the country’s economy as they help, for instance, in emptying the manufac­turer’s warehouse for more production or imports to be done.

We are also aware of the tolls the assemblies collect from them, as well as other taxes.

We are happy that the AMA is thinking of rede­signing markets under its jurisdiction to accommo­date more traders.

The naked truth is that street trading will contin­ue to grow for as long as there are no jobs elsewhere; neither are there enough spaces in the available mar­kets for people to occupy, coupled with the fact that it is very expensive to acquire or hire a shop for business.

Since trading has become a solace for some peo­ple amid the difficulty to secure jobs, we appeal to all district assemblies to put up markets that can make way for young people who would like to trade whether or not in anticipation of securing a certain job or travelling abroad.

That can help to ease the pressure of making a living.

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