Aid to fire victims laudable

BY: Arku Jasmine

Fire outbreaks have caused pain to many of our compatriots this year.

Statistics from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) indicate that this year more than 200 fires have gutted markets, residential property and offices.

Lives were also lost to these blazing fires that have also taken away the daily bread of many people, including women.

Every fire outbreak was a wake up call for all the regulatory bodies to put in place the necessary interventions to avoid a recurrence.

We have been quite slow in taking major actions to deal with the fire menace until the fire outbreaks at the Kantamanto and the Makola Number 2 markets reduced those trading posts into rubble and threw out a few thousands out of job.

The controversy surrounding the Kantamanto fire, the ownership of the market and the planned reconstruction is history now as the traders have improvised to resume business, albeit at the mercy of the weather.

In spite of the controversy, the government promised the traders some assistance and also followed it up with an assurance to the victims of the Makola Number

Two Market fire that they would also be supported to stand on their feet.

Some of the victims and other Ghanaians were skeptical about the government’s intention because of the numerous challenges facing the country, but, to prove the skeptics wrong, President Mahama has directed the setting up of a GHc2 million fund to assist victims of the recent fires in Accra.

The fund, according to the government, was to provide some relief for the traders whose items were destroyed at the Kantamanto, Makola Number Two and Konkomba markets.

The Daily Graphic commends the government for the gesture to ameliorate the pain and suffering of the fire victims.

We know the setting up of the fund remains a pledge at this stage, but we are also convinced that the officials tasked with the responsibility of operationalising the fund will speed up the processes.

It will be sad if this support for the traders is bogged down by the normal red tapism in the public service.

We all agree that the fire victims ought to be assisted to get back to their productive endeavours and that can be achieved with government and family support.

The Daily Graphic appeals to the victims to heed the advice of the authorities to desist from practices such as the use of fire and illegal electricity connections that facilitate fire outbreaks.

Stanbic Bank has extended assistance to a few of the fire victims who signed onto an insurance premium as a condition for the loans that the bank extended to them.

Now that the traders know how susceptible the wares they trade in are to fire, they will do well to take precautionary measures to avoid a similar calamity in the future.

We think district assemblies that regulate activities in our markets should ensure that the traders do not flout safety regulations.

The assemblies should not compromise on standards in our markets in order to safeguard public property, as well as the livelihood of traders.

We know the level of indiscipline in our society, and given our permissive attitude to national issues, the Daily Graphic strongly believes that the regulatory authorities should not shy away from the rod in order to keep to fire safety standards at all our markets.

This should be non-negotiable, so that the assistance from the government can sustain the victims and their dependants.