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Traders abandon market stalls

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), under the leadership of its former Chief Executive, Mr Stanley Nii Adjiri Blankson constructed the pedestrian shopping mall at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle to accommodate traders who formally sold on the streets of the Central Business District at Makola under a convenient umbrella.

The whole idea was to house traders who were affected by the decongestion exercise carried out by the AMA to rid the street of hawkers who used the place as their sales centers. It was also to give relief to both traders and patrons to conduct their business in a more relaxed and healthy manner.

Although some traders have heeded the call and have relocated to the new market, others have put up their shed, abandoned them and are still selling on the pavements of the Central Business District at Makola in broad day light. Others however prefer the late hours of the day on the pavements of the Kwame Nkrumah Circle to prevent any tussle with the AMA task force.

One part of the market has been occupied by traders while the other part, nicknamed “Tuobodom” by the market women appears to be left dormant. According to them, the place had been isolated from the main market and therefore attracted few customers.

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A visit to the market by the GRAPHIC BUSINESS indeed confirmed that a chunk of sheds had only been put up by the traders but no brisk business was going on there like the other part showed.

The other wing of the mall however serves as a one stop shop for all commodities people require ranging from fashion accessories, kitchenware, stationery and other household items.

The irony nonetheless is even those who sell on the pavements during the day still display their wares at night in a bid to up their sales for the day, as low sales had become the bane of the new market.

A trader, Madam Grace Quansah, who deals in ladies accessories told this reporter, although they new market was more comfortable and healthier than trading on the sun at the Central Business District in Makola, people hardly visit the new market, and the few who pass by occasionally barely make purchases.

According to her, during festive seasons and occasions, the market picks up and that is when they are able to make some sales and therefore resorts to selling on the pavements at night so she can add up to her sales for the day.

She told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS because their colleagues have been allowed to sell on the pavements; people barely come into the mall since they are able to get everything they want on the pavements outside the mall.

PATRONS PERCEPTIONS OF THE NEW MARKET

An attempt by the GRAPHIC BUSINESS to unravel why people barely bought from the market revealed that, high prices of goods sold at the mall contributed to this issue.

Madam Jifa Adatsi said things sold at the market were very expensive, far higher than what is offered at the Kaneshie and Makola markets adding “if you really want to shop, go to Accra. That place is far better.”

According to her, even though the traders reduce their prices when they bring it outside at night, the difference is not that much, “it is just GH¢1.00 difference or so.”

Another patron of the market, Ms Wilhemina Vanderpuije explained to the GRAPHIC BUSINESS that although their things are expensive, it is more convenient shopping there.

“There is so much convenience but the prices are high. You can walk through the market and get what you want at a particular place,” she said.

She explained that unlike Tema Station and Makola where you can bargain and get prices reduced, the traders at the mall would not accept any bargain and would allow you to go.

“If you bargain for price reductions, they will say no and allow you to leave and won’t bother calling you back like people do in Makola and Tema Station,” she said.

THE MARKET AT A GLANCE

Just on the outskirts of the mall is a lorry station that plies different routes in Accra making it a complete and convenient hub for both traders and patrons of the market.

The Novotel market which was relocated to the other wing of the mall has brought some briskness into activities carried on there, as residents in Adabraka patronize the market for their foodstuffs due to its close proximity.

Some women have also taken advantage of it to sell cooked food to both market women and people working at the lorry station.

The idea of the mall being built has not lost its essence entirely but authorities need to be up and doing to ensure the market does not become a hub for filth while hawking on the street must be completely eradicated.

 Article by Jessica Acheampong/Graphic Business