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27.02.2009 Regional News

Hawkers take over Tamale streets

By Edmond Gyebi, Tamale - Ghanaian Chronicle

The Central Business District of the Tamale Metropolis has become a free zone for petty traders and hawkers to undertake all manner of businesses.

The traders have completely taken over all the pavements along the streets, thereby creating inconveniences and congestion for both pedestrians and motorists.

The Northern File uncovered that most of the hawkers are non-residents of Tamale, most and come from Kumasi, Techiman and Bolgatanga to sell in Tamale.

Due to their low prices they attract high patronage, especially those selling ladies' wears, shoes, sandals and other materials.

Apart from the congestion the hawkers are also found of generating waste along the streets.

Even though the activity has existed for a long time, officials of the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly are yet to do something about it.

In an interview with the Northern File, some of the hawkers disclosed that selling on the streets fetched them more money than in the markets.

According to them, they sometimes spend the whole day inside the market without making any significant sales. One Mr. Kwesi Anane Yeboah, who sells ladies' underwear, disclosed that their prices were far moderate than those selling in the market.

He indicated that selling outside the market had even helped reduced the congestion there, and also helps the customers have clear options when purchasing goods.

One Madam Helena Asante, who was seen patronising the hawkers, asserted that buying from the hawkers, especially those from Kumasi, was far cheaper than in the market.

She said that even sometimes the sanitation situation inside the market, compelled most of the women to buy along the streets.

Meanwhile, traders in the market are also complaining about the situation. According to them, they did not understand why the assembly had allowed that practice to go on for years now.

They said those hawkers selling outside the market, and were making good sales, were not made to pay taxes to the assembly.

The legal traders, as they call themselves, appealed to the assembly to take immediate action to clear them off the streets, before some of them also move to the streets to sell.

When contacted, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly, Issah Salifu Musah, noted that the officials of the assembly had taken note of the hawkers and their activities, and would descend on them soon.

According to him, their stay on the pavements put the lives of the pedestrians in real danger, as they struggle to use the main roads with vehicles.

He said they also littered the places with indiscriminately.