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19.03.2007 Business & Finance

Market Fires

The rate at which fire outbreaks have occurred in markets across the country in recent times has become a worrying issue.

A couple of weeks ago, it was the Anloga and Central markets in Kumasi and now it is the Takoradi market.

In all the outbreaks goods have been destroyed by the fire and the result could be devastating on the owners. It could erode all the life savings of some of them.

Others would be compelled to find other means to defray the credit they might have taken from the banks, for instance.

The situation is even worse in a country where many of our people have not come to appreciate the need to have insurance against those misfortunes.

It is important that the assemblies (metropolitan, municipal or district) ensure that their markets are protected against such hazards because many spend hours on end in the markets.

Clearly, it should be possible for officials of the Ghana National Fire Service to inspect the wiring at the markets regularly. That way, Fire Service officials would be able to detect any defects that might exist and recommend how to deal with the danger.

It is known that some people make illegal connections to their shops and they do not use the required or standard cables.

Those found to have made illegal connections should be appropriately punished to serve as a deterrent to those who might attempt to do so.

Additionally, the assemblies have an obligation to embark on educational campaigns to educate all those who own shops at the market as well as those who sell on tabletops, to be on the alert.

We are happy that in all the outbreaks, no deaths had been recorded. However, it needs to be impressed on shop owners that they should put premium on their lives. They could lose their lives during fire outbreaks.

It may also be necessary to find out why such fire outbreaks occur annually in some of the markets.

We would have thought that the numerous associations at the markets would make it a point to impress upon their members the need to take the necessary precautions against fire outbreaks.

Insurance firms could take advantage of the recurrence of the fire outbreaks and reach out to those at the markets.

Our markets need to be protected against the frequent fire outbreaks. It is a task that must be fulfilled.