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12.02.2009 Politics

Minister-Nominee pledges to be tough on street hawkers

By GNA

Mr Armah Ashittey, Minister-Nominee for Greater Accra Region, on Wednesday said when given the nod he would take immediate steps to clear the streets of the capital of hawkers.

He told the Parliamentary Appointments Committee, which vetted him that he had observed the challenges posed by street hawkers to the economy and was ready to deal with it.

“I am ready to deal with the problem of street hawking in the capital but I’ll need the support of both sides of the political divide because the challenge is not a partisan but a national one,” he said.

Mr Ashittey’s promise was in line with a campaign promise by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to deal pragmatically with the problem of street hawking.

He noted that street hawking did not only pose danger to the lives of the hawkers themselves but caused human and motor traffic leading to the wastage of man hours and thus economic loss to the country.

He said with all hands on deck the problem could be uprooted once and for all under his tenure as Regional Minister.

On the question of the congestion in Accra due to its position as both national and regional capital, he said he would support the transfer of the regional capital to Dodowa provided the Central Government could find the funds to upgrade that town to a befitting regional capital.

He said he also had plans to build the capacities of the youth in the Region to provide them with employable skills, saying that he would encourage other Regional Ministers to do same in order to prevent rural urban drift which aggravated the congestion in the capital and compounded the problem of street hawking.

Mr Ashittey also promised to be tough on District, Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies, which did not perform their developmental role properly, saying that, he would provide effective supervision of the various assemblies to ensure that they delivered but those that exhibited laxity might have to be compelled to resign.

Touching on the conflicting roles of Tema Development Corporation (TDC) and the Tema Municipal Assembly (TMA), he noted that TDC’s role was restricted to development, planning, environmental and land management functions, whiles TMA was the administrator of the Municipality.

“To kill the confusion, I will propose that TDC should be made the works department of TMA in order that TDC will not struggle with TMA over who had administrative responsibilities,” he said.

On security, he said District Security Councils be made to be up and doing to protect the neighbourhoods and communities with the help of the Regional Security Council.

“We will also restore the concept of neighbourhood watch committees and also resource the Unit Committees to assist in the area of protecting the neighbourhoods to ward off armed robbers,” he said.

On the question of indiscriminate land sale and property development instead of land cultivation and protection for posterity in Accra, he said under his stewardship, he would ensure that land, which needed to be protected would be protected and land which needed to be developed would be developed according to properly laid down plan.

“It is about time we realised the land ownership does not necessarily warrant land development because land must be developed within the context of town planning and I will ensure that,” he said.

He told the Committee that under his stewardship he would move towards ensuing that land meant for residential and industrial development were properly serviced.

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