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Tamale central market decongestion; obstacles hindering it


Stakeholders in Tamale are calling on the authorities of the Tamale metropolitan Assembly to decongest the Tamale central market urgently to prevent fire outbreaks that have been hitting some parts of the country for some time now.

The current state of the Tamale Central Market can best be described as a death trap which needs immediate intervention by government to prevent loss of lives and properties.

Shoppers and some concerned residents in Tamale say shopping or walking through the market is life-threatening because of the exposure of electrical wires.  Walking through the market during rainy season is like wading in a waterlog area inundated with clay soil with slippery conditions.

Some traders who spoke to this reporter said the fire outbreaks in Kumasi market and other areas in the major cities in the country are still fresh in their minds and that if preventive measures are not taken, Tamale central market will have its share of what they termed as ”a preventable disaster’’.

The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) who has been criticized by some section of the public for not being proactive in attending to fire outbreaks, this time around, want major stakeholders managing the cities to do their work well in order that they can complement central government’s effort to solving the fire problems.

The GNFS northern regional office in Tamale is deeply worried that the Tamale metropolitan Assembly is not taking a cue from the numerous fire incidents in the country and to decongest the market.

The GNFS say the congested nature of the market remains a bane to the service and the earlier authorities wake up from their slumber, the better.

The GNFS in the northern region are therefore proposing to the assembly to consider reconstructing or rehabilitating the Tamale central market as soon as possible. The northern regional fire service officer, Hajia Jemimah Musah said her outfit is committed to fighting fire incidents in the region and called for public support.

Hajia Jemimah Musah also lamented that electric wires are being exposed with no single fire extinguisher in the market for any eventuality.

VRA’s concerns

The area manager of Volta River Authority (VRA) in the northern region, Francis Babereyir, corroborated the GNFS’s concerns and said the illegal wiring in the market has serious dire consequences on the market.  According to VRA northern regional Boss, about three or four customers usually connect to one line of a store which he said was very dangerous. He said VRA connects one line to a store and to their surprise several stores were connected illegally to the one legally connected. Mr. Babereyir, however, assured that his outfit has managed to curtail the mass illegal connections of electricity and warned that any one found indulging on it would be severely dealt with.

The Progressive Traders Association (PTA) in Tamale Central Market on their part expressed their displeasure about what they described as “undue delay” by the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly to rehabilitate the Tamale central market.

The traders said the lukewarm attitude of the assembly towards the rehabilitation of the market is worrying and urged TMA to expedite action on the rehabilitation plan. The traders wondered what the assembly has been using the taxes collected from traders for.

The Secretary of the traders, Thomas Ade who disclosed this, said the market contributes significantly to the livelihoods of many people in the region and its contributions to the national development cannot be underestimated.

The workshop was to offer a platform for stakeholders to discuss a video documentary research finding carried by the PTA. It also presented a platform for the assembly and other stakeholders to outline plans towards the upgrading of the market.

PTA said business activities of its members over the years have been adversely affected due to the poor state of facilities in the market. It was against this backdrop that PTA sourced funds from Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) to embark the sensitization program aimed at influencing the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly and central government for facelift of the market.

Obstacles hindering TMA’s efforts to decongest the market

The major obstacles hindering the assembly’s efforts to decongest the market were the level of indiscipline behavior of some traders, chieftaincy and political interferences among others.

The Deputy Coordinating Director, Jafaru Abdul-Aziz, said the nature of the market alone is a major problem which needs all stakeholders’ views to address it.  

According to Mr. Abdul-Aziz, people put up unauthorized structures even at night making it very difficult for the assembly to identify those perpetrating such illegalities. He said the assembly was not relenting on its efforts in rehabilitating the market to ensure sanity. He said the indiscriminate building of new structures poses a serious challenge to the assembly in dealing with the rehabilitation of the market.  The Tamale Central Market has over the years served as a major centre for exchange of goods and services for people in the metropolis, other towns and cities outside the metropolis including neighboring countries such as Burkina Faso and Togo.





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