Accra, March 23, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Wednesday told hawkers ejected recently from the streets and pavements of Accra that the city authorities were working on locations behind the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) Towers Building, near the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, and the torched PWD Yard at Tudu to relocate them.
He, however, cautioned them to respect the byelaws of the Metropolis that prohibited trading on streets and pavements. Responding to petitions for relocation from two of the affected traders at the Fourth People's Assembly held in Accra, President Kufuor said in as much as he cared about their plight and desire to make a living, they should be mindful of the fact that they did not have the right to trade at unauthorized places.
He said: "I have been discussing the issue with the Regional Minister and the Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly on the need to find some places for you to trade. But truthfully, they are not obliged to do so if we are to stretch the matter legally. "It would have been better if they had made those places available before your ejection but we all saw the problems caused by hawking on the streets, which endangered your lives."
President Kufuor reminded them that the City Authorities had the mandate to ensure the free movement of people and vehicles. Therefore, their action should be seen in the line of duty and not as a deliberate exercise to dispossess them of their occupation.
"You should not regard them with suspicion but cooperate with them for the good of all because we all want you to be gainfully employed." In reaction to a complaint from one of the petitioners that he contracted a loan for his business and was, therefore, losing the money, President Kufuor advised potential borrowers to carefully develop their business plans to ensure the sustainability and profitability of their enterprises.
President Kufuor, flanked by Vice President Aliu Mahama and Minister of the Interior, Papa Owusu Ankomah on the dais decorated with the national colours, was aided by his Ministers to answer about 30 questions on many issues from the people.
The questions included those on petroleum price increases, unemployment, sanitation, education, local governance, high bank charges, rural development, students loan scheme, telecommunications and energy.
In his opening remarks, the President focused on the need to accept the petroleum prices to enable the Government to raise the requisite revenue to propel Ghana's socio-economic advancement. In as much as the prices were relatively high, President Kufuor stressed, the situation was better in Ghana than in most of the neighbouring countries. He buttressed his position with data comparing the levels of petroleum taxes, per capita income and prices of fuel products in those countries.
The Kufuor Administration initiated the well-attended forum, aimed at providing a platform for the Executive to directly interact with the governed. 23 March 05