Seven weeks after a fierce fire destroyed the Makola Number Two Market at Agbogbloshie in Accra, the affected area is yet to be opened for traders to sell their wares.
When the Daily Graphic visited the market last Tuesday, the burnt section had been fenced, while business activities were going on at the unaffected area.
Traders who were affected by the fire had moved to the pavements at the entrance to the market, while others also ‘perched’ with friends in the market.
Whereas some of the affected traders had mounted large umbrellas to shield them from the scorching sun, others sold items on table tops and invited possible buyers to their stands.
Some of the victims were offering items they had been able to salvage from the fire for sale at reduced prices.
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Traders raise concerns
A section of the traders, largely provisions shop owners, said where they were now selling their wares was dusty and unsuitable for business, as it was close to the street.
According to Auntie Adjoa, one of the traders, most of their customers no longer patronised their wares because of the dusty environment, which also made their goods unattractive.
She said since the fire forced them to sell outside the market, business had been very slow and that had seriously affected her income.
Auntie Adjoa, who claimed to have lost stocks of grocery items to the fire, said she was back in business as a result of an insurance policy she took with the State Insurance Company (SIC).
The situation was not different for Auntie Mercy, who also sells provisions at the entrance to the market, as she frequently dusted her items.
“We had expected that the market would be opened by now but as it stands we do not know when they will open it for us to go in,” she said.
Besides, she said, they were close to the road and expressed fear that another tragedy might occur.
When asked how she raised funds to start business again, she said her suppliers gave her goods on credit to sell and pay back later.
“The loan the President promised us never came and we cannot wait because we have families to take care of,” she added.
When contacted, the Managing Director of the Makola Market, Mrs Rose-Margaret Kpodo, explained that the market was insured and the insurers and engineers were still investigating to arrive at estimates for compensation.
She explained that the investigations had delayed because the incident became a national security issue and the place had to be closed for experts to also conduct investigations.
“We have informed the traders of the circumstances and that was how come they were allowed to trade on the pavements and also ‘perch’ with friends in the market. Some of the victims told us that they wanted us to complete the investigations and clear the place before they come in,” she added.
By Salomey Appiah/Daily Graphic/Ghana