Johnson Asiedu Nketiah (left), National Chairman of the NDC, being assisted by Nana Bankwade (right), Osiakwanhene of the Banda Traditional Council, to cut the tape to inaugurate the project
Johnson Asiedu Nketiah (left), National Chairman of the NDC, being assisted by Nana Bankwade (right), Osiakwanhene of the Banda Traditional Council, to cut the tape to inaugurate the project
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Banda gets first market to boost economic activities

Phase one of the Bandaman Fish Market project, constructed at the cost of GH¢1 million by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Banda, Ahmed Ibrahim, has been completed.

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Located at Banda Bongasi in the Banda District in the Bono Region, the MP has provided the facility in response to the lack of a market to boost socio-economic activities of the deprived district.

It is the first market to be constructed in the district since it was carved out of the Tain District in 2012, which made it extremely difficult for residents to obtain their basic needs.

Phase one of the project, which is located at the upstream of the Bui Dam, has 240 shops, has electricity connected and has been provided with a mechanised borehole.

Goods

There is virtually everything one needs to buy in the market which operates on Thursdays and Fridays, ranging from food items, livestock, used cloths and footwear.

Others include mobile phones, cosmetics, palm oil, cooking utensils among other commodities.

However, since the market was created purposely for fish trading, fish is the dominant commodity, as every corner one passes, one is sure to meet fish sellers.

A section of the Banda Fish Market

Interestingly, because it is the only market, particularly for fish in the region, it always attracts over 1,000 traders and buyers from across the country. 

Some of the traders told the Daily Graphic that they had travelled from Accra, Kumasi, Bole, Yeji, Atebubu,Techiman, Sunyani, Tamale, Wenchi and Nkoranza, among others to trade.

Presentation

Mr Ibrahim has also presented 16 outboard motors to the fisherfolk at the cost of GH¢640,000 to enhance their fishing activities.

He said he has also planned to establish a GH¢1 million fund to support market women with interest-free loans and procure 30 tricycles to facilitate the transportation of traders on every market day.

At the inauguration of the market last Thursday, Mr Ibrahim said the initiatives were to help expand trading activities and sustain the interest of trading in the only market.

He said he had also procured 16 vehicles to be given to some of the 120 youth who were trained and provided with driving licences to operate on a “work and pay" basis. 

Second phase

He said the second phase of the project would include additional shops, a police post, fire station, first aid facility and warehouse to store unsold goods.

“It’s an ongoing project full of packages to boost the patronage of the market and Banda District Assembly’s internally generated fund,” he said.

Mr Ibrahim said he was developing the market to become the regional fish market, adding, "I will invest heavily to increase the shops to contain more traders."

He expressed the hope that the market would help boost the economic activities of the area to compete with other districts in the region.

Goods rejection 

Expressing her joy about the market, a trader, Ramatu Yakubu, who had travelled from Wenchi to do business at the market, told the Daily Graphic that hitherto, patrons used to reject their goods, particularly fish, because they were heavily polluted by the dust.

She said some customers always complained about how they displayed food items, especially beverages under the sun and on the bare floor.

One of the traders seen preparing fresh fish on the dusty ground during the Daily Graphic's visit

However, she said patronage of the market had increased dramatically a few weeks after its completion.

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Another trader, Asana Amina, said before the construction of the market, it was extremely difficult to trade in the area, since there were no structures and electricity to provide shelter and power respectively.

She explained that the dusty nature of the market and trading under the scorching sun posed danger to their health.

Ms Amina said the poor condition under which they were trading could have collapsed the only market, if the MP had not intervened to salvage the situation.

A colleague trader, Opoku Kwasi, told the Daily Graphic that the construction of the market was a timely intervention because they would not be exposed to the rain, during this rainy season.

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He said they were interested in trading and the support from the MP would further boost their interest and trading activities.

"Our previous trading condition was not the best. We were always beaten by rain," Kwasi said and appealed to the MP to immediately start the second phase of the project to sustain their interest in trading in the market.

He explained that the completion of the project would help accommodate the majority of them.

Abandon projects

The National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, bemoaned the number of abandoned projects scattered in the area.

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He said the situation which had wasted the country’s resources was also delaying the progress of the area.

Ahmed Ibrahim, Member of Parliament of the Banda Constituency, speaking at the function

Mr Nketiah specifically mentioned the E-block facility at the Bandaman Senior High School and College of Fishery project, a University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) satellite campus at Banda, and appealed to politicians to desist from abandoning projects.  

He urged assembly members in the area to adopt strategic ways to ensure proper management of waste in order to improve the sanitation situation in the market.

The chiefs and people in the area commended the MP for constructing the market to bring relief and boost their trading activities.

Background

The Bandaman Fish Market, which is only 15-minutes drive from Banda Ahenkro, was created by some fishermen and residents living at the upstream of the Bui Dam last year.

However, the Thursday and Friday market was in a poor state, and there was no single structure constructed for the traders.

Hundreds of traders, who travel across the country to trade at the market, sell their items, including foodstuffs, on the bare floor and under the scorching sun.

During the dry season, the entire market was dusty, polluting the fish and other commodities displayed on the bare floor.

The traders' plight worsened anytime it started raining during trading hours because there was no single structure for the traders to seek refuge.

Also, after the rains, the entire market area was submerged in water, leaving the traders frustrated and their wares destroyed.

How some traders erected makeshift structures to trade

It was devastating to see traders, particularly lactating mothers, sitting in the dusty environment and under the scorching sun with their little children to trade.

During market days, some traders had to erect makeshift structures to provide shade to enable them to transact their businesses.  

Though it was a booming market, the poor situation was killing the spirit and the interest of traders to travel long distances to trade at the market

It was in the light of these challenges that the MP, Mr Ibrahim, promised to construct a befitting market to save the only market from collapsing and generate revenue for the assembly.

In February this year, he cut the sod to redevelop an abandoned Banda Landing Beach Project started in 2015 by the Bui Power Authority (BPA) at Bongasi into a new market.

Writer's email: [email protected]

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