Regional News of Thursday, 4 July 2013

Source: Daily Graphic

GH¢2m grant for market fire victims ready

Four thousand five hundred traders whose shops were gutted by fire in Accra and Kumasi have been identified to benefit from the GH¢2 million government grant. A total of 3,000 of the affected traders are in the Kantamanto, Makola Number One and Makola Number Two markets in Accra, while 1,500 are in the Kumasi Central Market.

Briefing journalists on the arrangement Thursday at the Flagstaff House in Accra, a Deputy Minister of Information and Media Relations, Mr Felix Ofosu Kwakye, said a committee had been set up at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to screen the number and put the victims into categories based on their needs.

"A scientific process has been put in place to validate the number," he said.

The whole of the Kantamanto Market and parts of the Makola Number One and Makola Number Two markets in Accra were burnt down recently. Parts of the Kumasi Central Market were also gutted by fire recently.

Following the rampant fire outbreaks, President John Dramani Mahama directed the security agencies to commence investigations to ascertain the causes, and the preliminary report has since been presented to the government.

American investigators have also arrived in the country and started some investigations into the fire outbreaks.

President Mahama also directed that a GH¢2 million fund be established to assist victims of the recent market fires in Accra and Kumasi.

The deputy minister said the GH¢2 million was ready, and indicated that the government would start disbursing as soon as the screening and categorisation was over.

He said the money would be given to the affected traders based on their specific needs, saying that "the committee will consider the levels of grants based on specific needs."

He said the money would be paid to the traders through the banks.

Mr Ofosu Kwakye said the American investigators had completed their work and were in the process of compiling their report.

On the ability of the security officers to foil an alleged attempt to burn the Tema Community One Market last Tuesday, he said it was part of the larger effort to ensure that the markets were safe. He said the government would continue to encourage the security agencies to continue to ensure security in the markets.

On the Black Satellites' qualification to the quarter-final in the on-going FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Turkey, Mr Ofosu Kwakye congratulated the team for the performance and urged the players to put up more spirited performance to win the cup for the country.