February 08, 2011
Accra, Feb. 8, GNA - Mr Samuel Amoah, Chairman of Kantamanto Traders Association (KTA) on Tuesday appealed to the Government to suspend the ejection and expansion work being undertaken by the management of Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA) until an alternative place to accommodate the over 30,000 traders at the Kantamanto market has been acquired.
"We agree to the expansion and modernisation of the railway system, but the ejection exercise will put about 30,000 traders out of business," he added.
Mr Amoah made the appeal in a petition read on behalf of the traders at a press conference in Accra.
He noted that though the various groups operating at the market had either a lease or licence from the GRDA, their contributions assisted more people to be engaged into the business to help curb poverty in the country adding "most of us have over 30 years depended on trading for our daily income at Kantamanto".
"Our families and dependants will suffer greatly when we are ejected from the market since our livelihood and that of our families and dependants are derived from the market," he said.
The management of GRDA in collaboration with the Accra Metropolitan Assembly have in series of announcements to embark on a demolition exercise to pave way for the expansion and modernization with the laying of new rail lines from the main railway station in Accra.
Unauthorised structures between 50 to 100 meters are expected to be demolished to facilitate the project.
The Kantamanto market comprise dealers in second hand cloths, shoes, belts, panties, hardware and foodstuffs.
The press conference was marked with tears from nursing mothers and elderly women who laid prostrate on floor as a gesture in their appeal to President John Evans Atta Mills.
Mr Amoah pointed out that they were not squatters as being portrayed but had been operating in the area for the past 30 years.
He said most of the traders had secured loans from some micro finance companies and were working to repay the loans and the ejection exercise would affect them seriously.
Mr Amoah therefore pleaded with the Government to adopt a human approach by finding an alternative place to operate.
"If we are ejected, most of the youth would be forced to engage in prostitution, robbery and begging on the streets because with trading requires not much qualification to commence," he added.
Mr Ohene Mensah Kakra, National Spokesperson for the traders appealed to politicians to stay away from the hawkers in order that the issue would not be politicised.
"Our livelihood is at stake. We are prepared to dialogue with government over the issue. We want to part of the Better Ghana Agenda policy by the Government," he added.
Madam Ama Nyarko, 67 a plantain seller, pleaded with government to have mercy on them since he had to take care of her four children.
Ms Regina Odoi, a trader, contended that the Kantamanto market was patronised by neighbouring countries such as Togo, Nigeria and Cote d'Ivoire which had boosted international trade.