Traders at the Sekondi market in the Western Region are bitterly lamenting over the dilapidated state of the market which causing financial loses to their businesses as it drives trading activities to Takoradi and other satellite markets.
The over 100 years Sekondi market has seen very little renovation since it was constructed in the late 1920’s when the market was relocated from Sekondi European town to its current location at Asafo Bongoasie.
The most pressing need of the traders at the Sekondi market is the re-roofing of the market. At the time of the team’s visit to the market it observed that sections of the market sheds had been ripped off exposing the women in the market to the scorching sun and the rains.
The situation, according to the traders, is rendering their business activities inside the market fruitless and the hope of getting the problem fixed dwindles by the days since all the plea to the Sekondi Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly to help come to their aid have fallen on deaf ears.
The situation has remained like that for some years now but the traders on their own accord have been making contributions to rehabilitate sections close to their stores but all to no avail and they are now facing the impact since the rains have set in.
“I have lost more than seven pieces of cloth belonging to my customers which were given to me to sow for them but as usual we closed the shop one day we went home, that night it rained heavily and when we returned to the market the following day my shop was flooded destroying so many things in the shop. Why should that happen?” a seamstress in the market lamented.
As if that was not enough, all the ECG meters in the market are equally exposed to the rains and for that matter it is not safe staying in the shop anytime it rains.
“I have not been able to work in the shop for three weeks now since it started raining, look at how my shop has flooded and I cannot use the equipment I work with as a hairdresser because the electrical wires are in the rain.”
Meanwhile, attempt by the NDC’s Parliamentary Candidate for Sekondi, Lawyer Blay Armah, to fix the dilapidated roofing of the market women is strongly being contested by the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly arguing that plans are far advanced for the reconstruction of the Sekondi market so allowing Lawyer Armah to fix the situation will be a no for the assembly.
Corroborating this information, Lawyer Armah said he consulted the Coordinating Director of the Assembly and informed him of his intention to fix the dilapidated roofing in the market for the traders but he was not permitted to do so, adding the decision was born out of a passionate appeal the market women made to him.
“I have seen how the traders are suffering and the rainy season has worsened the situation. Most of the traders can’t sell whenever it rains so I went to see the situation and decided to fix the roofing for them. The administrator in the market asked me to speak to the Sekondi sub-metro director but I rather followed it up with the Coordinating Director since the back-stops with him and then the Metropolitan Chief Executive but the Director told me nicely that I should forget it.”
According to him, the Coordinating Director was emphatic that the assembly has plans of fixing the market in the future.
“He said they have sent estimates of the market to the Finance Ministry and that they have plans of redeveloping the market to a modern status so even if they allow me to fix it, my investment will go to waste. But it is my money and even if I fix it today and it is taken off tomorrow, I won’t be bothered. The traders are suffering and the plan they are talking about did not start today.
“They have been promising to fix it over the years but nothing has happened there and the traders are suffering. A solution is needed for now,” he added.
The Public Relations Officer of STMA, John Last, also indicated that allowing any investment into the market will later go to waste since the assembly has earmarked the market for demolition and reconstruction right after the famous Takoradi market redevelopment.
“We have a programme dubbed the Sekondi-Takoradi Integrated Market Development and we have already submitted the concept note and all proposals to the Finance Ministry through the Ministry of Local Government [Decentralization and Rural Development]. So, we already have a program for the market, it has been planned for demolition. The Coordinating Director told them the assembly will not encourage any investment that will later go to waste,” he indicated.
That notwithstanding, Lawyer Armah believes he is being prevented from finding solution for the market women due to political reasons but until the assembly finds solution to the plight of the traders in the Sekondi market, the problem will linger on.
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