The government has denied claims by some
traders that it has sold part of the Kantamanto Market in Accra to a Chinese developer.

Rather, it said, it intended to reconstruct the Kantamanto Market, put in place safety facilities and hand the place over to the traders whose items were destroyed by a ferocious fire on Sunday, May 5.

Senior government officials gave the assurance at a meersting with the leaders of the traders at the Flagstaff House, Kanda in Accra, yesterday.

The meeting, chaired by the Chief of Staff, Prosper Douglas Kwaku Bani, was held behind closed doors.

It was said to have discussed the fire outbreak, the disturbance by some traders and the development of the market.

It also allayed the fears of some of the traders that they would lose their stalls after the market had been redeveloped.

Also at the meeting were the National Security Coordinator, Lt Col Larry Gbevlo-Lartey; the Minister of the Interior, Mr Kwesi Ahwoi; the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Mr Julius Debrah, and the Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Dr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije.

Briefing journalists after the meeting, a Deputy Minister of Information, Felix Kwakye Ofosu, said the traders misconstrued the deployment of heavy equipment to the market to clear the debris as an indication that the government had sold out the
market to an investor.

He said the place was now a disaster zone, for which reason security personnel had cordoned it off to prevent people from tampering with investigations.

Mr Kwakye said government officials had told the traders that the government?s preoccupation now was to reconstruct the market and assured them that all of them would be incorporated into the market.

He said the officials had also told the traders that when the reconstruction of the market was completed, they would be the first to own stalls there.

The deputy information minister said the issue of the relocation of the traders would be discussed between government representatives and the leadership of the traders next Thursday.

He said the leaders of the traders had told government officials that they (traders) already had a plan to develop the market.

However, Mr Kwakye said, the leaders had expressed their commitment to partner the government to develop the market.

The aftermath of the fire outbreak has been characterised by mistrust, confusion and confrontation between the security agencies and officials of the AMA, on one hand, and the traders, on the other.

Some of the traders are reported to have burnt tyres and attempted to prevent security personnel from cordoning off the destroyed market.

The traders, who are still counting their losses after the fire gutted their shops and stalls, are suspicious that the market would be taken away from them.

That followed an announcement that a new market would be constructed to replace the one that had been damaged by fire, starting from July this year.

There was a clash between the police and the traders on Monday night as the traders protested against what they described as attempts by the government to cordon off the damaged market.

Source -Daily Graphic


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