A project to address illegal connection of electricity in market places will kick off in six markets and two economic enclaves in Accra and Tamale under Ghana’s second compact with the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA).
The project, known as the Access Project, is one of the six projects being implemented by the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) under the Ghana Compact II Programme.
The selected markets are Agbogbloshie One, Madina, Dansoman, Kaneshie, Makola and Tamale Central, while the beneficiary economic enclaves are the Accra Timber Market and Tamale Timber Market.
This came to light when MiDA, implementors of the MCA Compact for Ghana, held a stakeholders engagement in Accra yesterday to provide updates on the access project implementation.
Representatives of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the La Nkwantanang Madina Municipal Assembly, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and leaders of the selected economic enclaves and market associations attended the meeting.
Briefing participants on the proposed interventions, the Project Manager of the Access Project at MiDA, Mr Samuel A. Afram, said $10 million had been earmarked for the project which is expected to kick off in November this year.
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In all, he said 50 markets were surveyed for the project and it was observed that the electrical wiring in most of them and business enclaves were either badly done or illegally connected to the power distribution sources.
Also there were instances of transformers being situated too close to human activities which posed a high risk to human lives.
Additionally, it was also found that many traders who needed electricity for their businesses could not get access to power supply because of the numerous challenges they experienced when they applied for meters from the ECG.
He said the project would provide security lighting within the targeted areas to improve security and prevent theft.
Additionally, illegal connections in the targeted area would be addressed and mainstreamed into the ECG and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo) billing systems to reduce commercial losses.
The Chief Executive Officer of MiDA, Mr Martin Eson-Benjamin, in a speech read on his behalf by the Director of Generation Projects at MiDA, Mr Mawunyo Rubson, said the project, when completed, would provide safe, quality and reliable electricity in the selected markets, economic enclaves and would be extended to social institutions such as schools and health facilities.
The interventions proposed for the selected markets and economic enclaves, he said, would directly impact the earning opportunities of people and also address social and gender inequalities.
According to him, women’s income-generating activities required high energy inputs, yet their access to modern energy for productive use was limited.
“As most of the businesses in the markets are owned by low-income women, increased lighting and access to electricity will improve their income,” he said.
The Manager for Donor Projects at ECG, Mr Samuel Nee Abbey, said the power company had commenced similar projects in the Tema, Mallam Atta and Kumasi markets, but the project could not be extended to cover all markets due to financial constraints.
He cautioned people who engaged in illegal connections to desist from the act as it led to fire outbreaks and destruction of property and lives.
The President of the Greater Accra Markets Association, Madam Mercy Naa Afrowa Needjan, expressed gladness at the project.
“We need light for all our businesses. We can extend our trading time in the evenings when we have functioning security lights,” she stated.