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07.02.2005 Regional News

Traders' Associations support AMA's decongestion exercise

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Accra, Feb. 7, GNA - Three recognized Traders' Associations on Monday welcomed the Accra Metropolitan Assembly's (AMA's) decision to embark upon an exercise to rid the Central Business District (CBD) of the Metropolis of hawkers.

They expressed grave concern about the presence of hawkers on the streets, and said their activities within the CBD had for some time now obstructed pedestrian walkways.

The associations - United Petty Traders Association; Street Vendors Association and Positive Traders Association - pledged their support at a press conference in Accra organised as a prelude to the exercise by the AMA slated for Tuesday February 8 2004.

The Spokesman for the group, Mr Desmond Donkoh said while the exercise was in progress, the associations would continue to negotiate with the AMA authorities as to how best to re-locate the hawkers. Mr Donkoh pointed out that since most of the hawkers did not belong to any of the recognized associations they were finding it extremely difficult to control them.

"We know that the exercise would have adverse effect on the revenue generation of AMA and IRS, however, the exercise needs to be carried out at all cost, to ensure sanity on our streets."

He mentioned Novotel, Rawlings, Rex Cinema and Tudu Lorry Parks as the areas proposed by the three sister associations for re-location and said if AMA considered their proposals they would re-arrange their members in an orderly manner.

The AMA suspended the decongestion exercise, which was scheduled to begin on February 1 2004, following representations by the hawkers that they should be given some time to relocate.

Mr Stanley Nii Adjiri Blankson, Mayor of Accra, had given the assurance that AMA would persistently educate the hawkers on the need to move away from the streets and would not be using brute force to move them.

Mr Blankson said, even though the Police would be involved in the exercise, they had been warned not to brutalize the hawkers. He said the exercise was not going to be a nine-day's wonder and pledged that the operation would be sustained until the streets of Accra were rid of the last hawker and lunatic.

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