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18.06.2009 Regional News

Planned AMA Decongestion Still On Hold

By Patrick Baidoo -
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The planned decongestion of the Accra metropolis is still on hold until the oversight committees of Sub-Metros and Town Councils are fully constituted by the end of the month, says Nii Armah Ashietey, Greater Accra Regional Minister.

This, he said, was to ensure that the exercise allowed a full participation of all stakeholders, especially those at the grassroots, to make it sustainable and effective.

Speaking to the Times in Accra yesterday in reaction to statements by Dr Alfred Vanderpuije, Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive, on Tuesday to the effect that the decongestion would come off as planned, the Ministry said the Regional Security Council at a meeting in February this year opted for the grassroots approach.

“This strategy will see the decongestion exercise starting from the sub-metros, districts and finally at the metropolis level,” the Minister said.

He explained that “the grassroots approach” is to make for a gradual and systematic method of decongesting starting from point of least resistance or low patronised hawking areas before the densely hawking sites like the central business district.

He said that in the past the method of decongesting at a go and using security personnel to patrol decongested areas everyday failed; hence, the need to adopt a new strategy.

Nii Ashitey said that a full participation of the sub-metros would therefore make them responsible for the areas that they decongest by using their task force and a few security detail at affected areas.

“When the exercise is done using the old method it will be costly.

There is the need to cut down on the assembly's budget of GH¢250,000 and the 700 member task force for the exercise,” he said.

He said since the exercise required a all-hands-on-deck approach it was important to get stakeholders like Parliamentarians, GPRTU, MTTU and others involved to ensure that not only hawkers are cleared off the streets but vehicles that do park at unauthorised places as well.

The Minister said that the payment of GH¢50 to each of the security officers who will be detailed to patrol decongested areas everyday was even outrageous since one could not tell how long the exercise would be sustained.

“We don't need all this huge expenditure and therefore we should examine where we failed in the past and re-strategise,” he said.

He said that there was the need to meet all the security agencies to discuss the modalities for the operation but that had not even been done.

“After the sub-metros are constituted, the REGSEC and all other stakeholders involved will meet to discuss and plan the way forward,” he said.

He advised the public not to politicise the issue but rather co-operate to solve the problem holistically.

The AMA planned to decongest the city of hawkers and other traders in the streets starting last Monday but had to stop the exercise following a purported directive from the Regional Minister.

However, the AMA boss said later that there was no such directive from the Regional Minister and that the exercise would go on as planned.

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