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24.03.2009 General News

Car dealers have no case


Car dealers on the Motorway extension went on a demonstration last week Thursday over threats by the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) to eject them along the project corridor to pave way for its construction. According to them, they have paid all the relevant taxes to the government, therefore, they do not understand why the latter can not find a suitable place to resettle them, so that they continue with their businesses.

They also claimed that the compensation that are due them have not been paid, yet they are being forced to relocate from their current locations. MiDA on its part insists that compensation ranging from GH¢90 TO GH¢20,000 have been paid to all the squatters along the corridor. MiDA, acting on behalf of government is ready to start work because the latter risks paying $20,000 a day to the contractor, should the contract start late.

Much as The Chronicle shares in the grievances of the car dealers, as citizens of the land who must work to feed their families, we also think that by their actions they seem to have over stepped their limit. The government of Ghana acquired the corridor for the construction of the motorway in 1973, and paid the necessary compensation for it. The Chronicle does not think it is the government that leased portions of the road to the garage owners. They might have moved to the place without any authorisation.

All the various governments since 1973 did not deem it fit to eject them because the land was not ready for use. We therefore, find it strange that after being paid compensation for the land they are considered to be squatters on, these car dealers are refusing to relocate because government has not found alternative places for them. To us, the demand is unreasonable and must not be entertained. We would have supported their course if they had acquired the land and the government wants to take it away from them for the project that would benefit the state, but this is not the case.

The Construction of that road corridor would help ease traffic substantially in Accra and we, therefore, appeal to the car dealers to accept the compensation given them and move away for the project to start. Alternatively, if they think they have genuine grounds to prove that the government is treating them unfairly, then they must seek redress in a court of law. Going on street demonstrations just to delay the execution of the contract would not be in the interest of anybody.