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Regional News of Monday, 6 May 2019

Source: thechronicle.com.gh

Otumfuo fights for Kejetia traders over allocation of stores

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, has sternly directed the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) and the 11-member Kejetia Validation Oversight Committee to immediately bring back store owners and traders who were displaced as a result of the construction of the first phase of Kejetia Redevelopment Project to the new facility.

He has also ordered that the 5,000 traders and hawkers operating in the Kumasi Central Market must also be properly and immediately relocated to pave way for the commencement of the Phase Two of the project.

The Asantehene gave the directives when he was joined by President Akufo-Addo last Thursday to cut the sod for the commencement of the second phase of the €248 million Central Market Project in Kumasi.

The President also used the occasion to unveil an imposing statue of Otumfuo Osei Tutu II at the new Kejetia, in recognition of his achievements and immense contribution to socio-economic and national development.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu said he was worried about the delayed resettlement of the traders and that, he did not understand why the traders who occupied spaces at the time the market was demolished had not been moved back to the new facility, even though they had been verified and validated since November last year.

The King stressed that resettling the displaced traders to continue with their business at the new facility is a major concern, since any further delay would go a long way to delay the commencement of the second phase of the project, in which case interest would accrue on the credit facility for the project.

The Ashanti overlord cautioned against attempts to add to the already verified and validated list of traders because he did not want the president and himself to be abused for any irregularity.

Insisting on transparency and fairness in the allocation of shops, Otumfuo charged the committee put in charge of the allocation to adhere to the modalities agreed on for the exercise, to ensure that traders were catered for, first emphasising that registered traders who vacated the site for construction and others from the yet-to-be-developed Central Market have the first option and right of occupancy.

The Asantehene has, therefore, charged the KMA, the Validation Oversight Committee and managers of the redeveloped Kejetia Market to be fair in the allocation of the stores and stalls to traders and directed that the authorities quickly and properly relocate the about 5,000 traders in the Central market so that work can start as soon as possible to avoid extra cost on the loan facility, if the project does not take off within the next three months.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu, in his usual sense of humour, noted that when the Kejetia Redevelopment Project started, there were speculations in town that the Brazilian contractors were exploring for gold at the then Kejetia terminal, but the magnificent edifice had proved the rumour-mongers wrong.

Phase One of the Kejetia Market Redevelopment Project constructed by Brazilian engineering and construction firm, Messrs Contracta Engineering Limited), has 8,420 shops. The new market provides facilities such as police station, fire installations, clinic, school, waste management system, bus terminal and more than 9, 000 stores.

The completed project is yet to be allocated to traders four months after the contractor had handed over the facility to the government and the Validation Committee had completed validation exercise giving room to speculations that some politicians and party executives would allocate the stores to themselves at the expense of legitimate store owners and verified tenants.

The validation exercise provided a master database on the identity of persons and the type of tenancy; established an accurate and comprehensive register for the allocation and management of the redeveloped facility at Kejetia and the Central market and identify the true owners of the stores to be allocated under the project.

Minister for Local Government, Hajia Alima Mahama, revealed that a special body has been tasked to allocate shops and manage the market and that 60% of revenue accruing from the operations of the facility would go to the Ministry of Finance, 17% would go to the Kumasi

City Markets Company, managers of the facility and the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) respectively, whilst 6% would go to the Kumasi Traditional Council with 2% put aside for Social programmes.

The Minister also disclosed that her Ministry and the Ministry of Finance had concluded financial arrangements with the Fidelity Bank To enable traders meet their financial obligation of occupying the stores.

President Akufo-Addo said the redevelopment of the Kumasi Central Market at €248 million is being financed by the Deutsche Bank of Germany, with export credit guarantee from the United Kingdom Export Finance (UKEF).”

Messrs Contracta, from United Kingdom have 48-months to complete the second phase of the project, which is expected to house 6,500 leasable commercial spaces; 5,400 closed stores; 800 kiosks; 50 restaurants and 210 fishmonger and butcher stores and 40 livestock stores among others.

He hoped the project would provide 900 direct jobs and 2,500 indirect jobs to improve the lot of residents.

The President enumerated a number of infrastructure development projects his administration is undertaking in fulfillment of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) manifesto promises.

He said Tamale is benefiting from a huge infrastructure project being funded by the Sinohydro facility, and mentioned the ongoing construction works at the Kumasi Airport to upgrade it to a proper international status and a number of roads currently under rehabilitation within the metropolis as parts of measures to give the city a befitting face lift.

The President said Parliament had also approved €155 million for the completion of the 900 bed Children’s Block at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) that had been abandoned by his predecessors for over 40 years.

The British Envoy in Ghana, H.E. Ian Walker said the British government had over the last three years committed about US$570 million into projects in Ghana.

He said the UKEF export credit guarantee for the €248 million is the practical manifestation of the British government’s commitment to the development of Ghana.

Ambassador Walker noted that Kumasi was a vital trading partner and expects the city to open to the Sub region over the next two years.

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