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Business News of Monday, 31 March 2014


Comment: Unending market fires cause pain to traders

The perennial market fires are causing pain to many households, in the face of the seeming inability of the state apparatus to deal with the situation.

For quite some time now, human endeavors at our markets have become hazardous ventures. This situation is compounded by the lack of standards at the markets.

On many occasions, the authorities and some victims have suggested arson, but they are unable to trace it to any individual or groups of individuals.

The perception received official endorsement last year when the government revealed that the perennial market fires were deliberate attempts by arsonists to create disaffection in society.

Indeed, the government invited expert from the United States of America (USA) to investigate the circumstances that led to fires at markets in Accra and Kumasi. Unfortunately, the experts could not unravel the mystery surrounding the market fires, as we were told that the evidence was destroyed by traders who had stormed the markets to salvage a few of their goods.

Ever since that report from the USA experts, the country has been in a quandary, with those who trade at our markets experiencing sleepless nights, unsure of their fate the next day.

But, as a country, we ought to get serious with the way we conduct public business.

After an opinion about the causes of market fires bad been formed, it was up to the authorities of the assemblies, the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS). The government and the traders to devise the necessary strategies to outwit the saboteurs.

The Daily Graphic is appalled by our attitude towards the arrest of a woman alleged to be carrying kerosene to bum down the Makola Shopping Mall last Monday.

After the woman had feigned mental deficiency, it appears the security agencies went to sleep because there may be no substance in the claim.

We were also told that the authorities of the Makola Shopping Mail haw information that certain unknown persons were planning to bum down markets in the country but they too went to sleep without acting on that piece of intelligence.

Then, yesterday, presto; we woke up to the sad news that the Makola Secondhand Cloches Market in Accra was in flames, destroying 200 shops and rendering 2000 traders jobless.

The authorities who control the market, the GNFS and other security agencies have questions to answers. They should explain why they faded to tighten security at ail the markets to protest the destruction of property worth millions of cedis.

The present attitude of dealing with market fires will not yield any results and the traders will have to brace up for the loss of their livelihoods. But this development is objectionable and a threat to our development endeavours.