The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) is to decongest the Central Business District (CBD) of Accra of petty traders and hawkers within the next 14 days.
Consequently, the AMA has begun negotiations with the Police, Fire Service, Customs,Excise and Preventive Service, and other agencies on how to carry out and sustain the exercise.
The Metropolitan Chief Executive, Mr Stanley Nii Adjiri-Blankson, told the Daily Graphic on Tuesday, that the 4,000 registered petty traders would be relocated to the newly constructed Pedestrian Shopping Mall, close to the Odaw Drain, at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle.
He said the rest of the petty traders and hawkers would be moved to the various traditional markets in the metropolis, since the mall alone could not contain all of them.
'There is no justification for any petty trader or hawker to choose to sell on the streets and pavements of the CBD. AMA will be ruthlessly poised to prosecute anyone who will dare flout these humane arrangements', Mr Adjiri-Blankson warned.
As a first step, he said, the assembly had acquired 15 pickups with built-in public address systems to announce the intended decongestion exercise to the hawkers, and to educate them on the need to vacate the streets and pavements.
'I hope that some hawkers will not give the AMA cause to use force to relocate them, because the exercise is in their own interest', he said.
Asked whether the AMA would be able to sustain the decongestion exercise, considering the fact that the first exercise was defied by the petty traders two years ago, Mr Adjiri-Blankson insisted that the AMA was able to rid the city of petty traders for eight months.
According to him, the return of the petty traders and hawkers to the streets followed people's sympathy and arguments that the AMA should have secured a place for them before the decongestion.
'Now that there is a place for the petty traders and hawkers, the moment we (the AMA) dislodge them from the streets and pavements, the AMA will regard hawking in the CBD as illegal', he warned.
According to Mr Adjiri-Blankson, the Pedestrian Shopping Mall was his 'constituency', and that the assembly wanted 'to bring the petty traders up to the level of serious business people'.
'The AMA wants to develop the petty traders from ending up as social misfits to a level comparable to their colleague business people from the universities.
This is the society the AMA wants to create for the petty traders', he stressed. Mr Adjiri-Blankson stated that the petty traders generated about half of the filth in the city, for that matter the assembly would embark on a massive clean-up exercise in the city immediately after the decongestion exercise.
He said the proposed clean-up exercise would mark the beginning of cleaning the city towards the Ghana at 50 celebration, and would be sustained throughout the year.
The Metropolitan Chief Executive said the Ga Traditional Council had assured the assembly of its full participation in the clean-up exercise, which would be a fore-runner to the funeral of the late Ga Mantse.
That, he said, was an attempt to improve sanitation in the city to give the chief a befitting burial. Mr Adjiri-Blankson said the AMA was 'making efforts' to get the central government to involve civil servants, as well as, the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) to allow workers to participate in the clean-up exercise.
He appealed to the Christian Council, the Muslim Community and non-governmental organisations to participate in the clean-up exercise.