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Regional News of Thursday, 25 September 2008

Source: GNA

Pety traders causing nuisance in Tamale Metropolis

Tamale, Sept. 25, GNA - some small-scale business operators in the Tamale Metropolis are causing nuisance which, if not checked, could cause havoc to life and property. The operators, popularly referred to as "pity traders," invade and block the pavements of some major streets including ceremonial roads in the metropolis and sell their wares.

Some of them also sell food close to refuse dumps, exposing their patrons, especially children, to diseases. Traders sell charcoal, yam, tomatoes, beans and groundnuts close to the offices of the Ghana News Agency at Kukuo and this obstructs traffic.

Heavy vehicles load and offload goods, mainly yam and charcoal, in the middle of the road in front of the GNA. At the Kaladan area the traders, including kiosks, have occupied pavements and some of them have blocked the entrance to the Tamale Senior High International School. At the Victory Cinema area, food vendors sell close to a refuse dump.

Some of the traders told the GNA in interviews that they had no other alternative than selling by the road side since they could not afford to pay the huge sums of money charged for assembly market stalls at Kalpohin and Kukuo.

Madam Amina Awudu, a pity trader, said her entire capital was less than GH¢150 and could not afford to pay the rental fee of GH¢ 20 a month for a stall. She said there was no other means for her to contract a loan to increase her business since she had no a bank account and her daily sells were meagre. A food vendor at the Victory Cinema Area who pleaded anonymity said she saw nothing wrong selling close to refuse dumps since the food was always covered.

"I have been vending food for the past 12 years and no one has ever complained of sickness for eating my food. I don't believe that people can contract sickness from eating food that flies perch on. Does it mean if you swallow mosquito you get malaria?" she asked. Mr. Salifu Abu, a kiosk operator at the Kaladan area, said he genuinely acquired the land for his business and is paying fees to the assembly.

Some of the traders conceded that they were obstructing vehicular movement but could not afford to rent stores or use the market stalls that the assembly had built. None of the traders that the GNA interacted with had a bank account and appealed to any of the financial institutions to give them soft loans to able them to increase their business that would probably enable them to move away from the streets. Alhaji Mohammed Baba, Tamale Metropolitan Coordinating Director, told the GNA that the assembly was aware of the activities of the traders at unauthorized places especially on the pavements. He said in view of the dangers posed in selling on the streets, the assembly had built some satellite markets at Kukuo, Lamashiegu and Kalpohin but the traders have refused to move with the excuse that patronage would be low. Alhaji Baba said it was not true that the assembly was charging GH¢ 20 for the use of the market stalls per month and that the assembly was rather charging GH¢30 per shade for the whole year. On the part of food vendors selling close to some refuse dumps, Alhaji Baba said the assembly had not taken notice of it and gave the assurance that the Sanitary Inspectorate Unit would take up the issue. 25 Sept 08