04.05.2005 General News

Hawkers to relocate temporarily

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Accra, May 4, GNA - Hawkers at the Central Business District (CBD) have been asked to relocate temporarily at the Novotel Car park and the car park opposite the Old Parliament House until work on the new site at the Public Works Department (PWD) and Kwame Nkrumah Circle was completed.

Mr Charles Binipong Bintim, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, announced this when he met Executives of the United Petty Traders Association, Positive Traders Association and Street Vendors Association in Accra to finalize alternative arrangements for the hawkers while they waited to be permanently relocated at the PWD site. Work on the PWD site is expected to be finished in two months.

"The Ministry is putting these measures in place because we cannot allow you to sit in the house for two months since most of you are bread winners of your families," the Minister said.

Mr Bintim said it was unfortunate that many people misunderstood the directive from the Ministry, which sought to give a human face to the whole decongestion exercise, as a move to let the hawkers return to the streets.

He said the directive sought to make sure that the assemblies found alternative sites for the hawkers before they were removed from the streets.

"The decongestion exercise is not for politics, but it should rather be seen as a move by the City Authorities to make the country's metropolis look nice."

The Minister told the hawkers that the Police would protect their wares when they moved to the temporary site.

Mr Desmond Donkor, President of United Petty Traders, promised to speak with their members to leave the streets and consider moving to the new sites temporarily.

The Accra Metropolitan Assembly in a major exercise has cleared hawkers from the pavements and streets in the CBD.

However, the hawkers have over the past two days been returning to some of the streets after misconstruing the Ministry's directive as a permission to return to streets.

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