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Business News of Friday, 9 August 2019

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Furniture business booms on Graphic Road

There is a gradual sprawling of a furniture market on a segment of the shoulders of the Graphic Road close to the Liberty Avenue, contrary to the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies’ bye-laws against street hawking and trading; however, the Korley Klottey Municipal Assembly says it is unaware of such activity and will have to find out about it to be able to take action.

For some time now, the area behind the Ghana Heavy Equipment Limited (GHEL) or the defunct Ghana National Trading Corporation (GNTC) has been the assembly and display centre for the woodworkers, some of whom mount their wares on the pavement, reducing the walkway to a single pathway at the expense of the convenience and safety of pedestrians.

With the trees along the road serving as shade for them, they sell all manner of furniture, including bed frames, wardrobes, cabinets, cupboards, tables, baby walkers, shoe racks, kitchen stools and sofas, and business is brisk during the rush hours.

Apart from breaching the bye-laws and creating inconvenience for pedestrians, the furniture sellers, whose number is steadily increasing, are also putting themselves in a vulnerable situation should a vehicle veer off the road towards their direction as it is a major route linking the Kaneshie-Graphic Road to the Accra business district.

With no action from the authorities, other traders are also moving to the area as some people selling dresses, shoes, locally made slippers and other items have displayed their goods either on the walls or on the pavement heading towards the Swanzy Shopping Arcade

Assembly reacts

The Daily Graphic initially contacted the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to find out whether the place had been given out for trading purposes, but the AMA said it no longer had jurisdiction over that area and referred the paper to the Korle Klottey Municipal Assembly.

However, the Coordinating Director of the Municipal Assembly, Mr Bernard Mats Yingura, said the assembly was unaware of the situation.

He said now that its attention had been drawn to it, the assembly would visit the occupied areas to assess the situation and act appropriately.

“Illegitimate trading along the shoulders of roads is against the assembly’s bye-laws. We will take the necessary action and clear them off the road after we have assessed the situation,” Mr Yingura said.

Expansion

In an interaction with the Daily Graphic, one of the furniture dealers, Joseph Atta, said he and a friend identified the location around 2010 and commenced business there.

He said nine years down the line, the business had expanded with eight more people pitching camps on the shoulders of the road to engage in the furniture business.

Atta revealed that the furniture was imported from Kumasi and assembled at their present location.

To ensure that the products were safeguarded against theft, he said, he and his colleagues slept there so long as they had enough stock to sell.

Aware of danger

Atta said although they were aware of the dangers associated with the conversion of the shoulders of the road into a business and sleeping ground, he and his colleagues were unaware that the location of their business contravened the law.

“When we came here, this whole place had been deserted. We cleared the weeds and made it habitable. So you can imagine how bad the place would have been kept if we were not here.

“About six years ago, the AMA sacked us from here, but we managed to return because we realised that the place had been deserted again. Periodically, the task force comes around and we settle them so we can operate in peace,” Atta explained.

Petty traders

In a similar fashion, some petty traders have extended their trade beyond the Agbogbloshie Market and have occupied parts of the pavements on the frontage of GHEL on the way to the Swanzy Shopping Arcade to hawk and clamour for customers.

Aside from the inconvenience it poses to pedestrians and the dangers involved, the situation has resulted in the wanton generation of filth in the occupied areas.

Some of the traders said they had failed to secure spaces within the main market, leading to their decision to occupy sections of the road.