The Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Simon Osei-Mensah, has given the last batch of traders still operating in the Kumasi Central Market up to tomorrow to vacate the area to pave the way for the completion of the on-going phase two of the Kejetia/Central Market Redevelopment.
He made the appeal last Thursday when he conducted journalists round the Race Course Market, where some traders have been moved to until the central market is completed.
Apart from the Race Course Market, many of the traders who were affected during the recent demolition exercise carried out by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) have also been successfully relocated to other satellite markets within the metropolis, including the Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem Market, popularly known as Abinkyi Market.
Currently, Contracta, the Brazilian construction firm executing the project, is half way through the project, hence the need to as a matter of urgency relocate the remaining traders for work on the market to be completed.
So far 1,300 traders have been temporarily moved to the Race Course Market, awaiting an estimated 4,000 second-hand clothes sellers and 3,500 shop owners who are to relocate to satellite markets for the project to be completed on schedule.
At the Race Course Market, it was gathered that the assembly had increased visibility because of the number of traders expected to operate there.
Workers of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) were seen busily laying electricity cables at the enclave.
“Enough is enough. We have given traders several notices to leave the market but some are still adamant,” the Minister said.
He stated that although President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, together with the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, cut the sod in May 2019 for work to begin on phase two of the project, it was not until March 2020 that the first batch of traders agreed to move from the market.
The regional minister said there was no way authorities would sit aloof and allow the project to be further delayed for fear of breaching the agreement, considering its repercussions.
He appealed to the affected traders to conduct themselves well in the upcoming demolition exercise for the smooth and timely completion of the much anticipated project, which will help decongest the Central Business District of Kumasi.
Mr Osei-Mensah noted that the contractor had already taken delivery of 500 containers of the materials and equipment for the construction.
“Three hundred more containers have since been sitting at the port,” he added and explained that the contractor was unable to move them to the site to continue the work because the traders had not moved out.
The Kumasi Central Market is a €248 million project being financed by the Deutsche Bank of Germany, with export credit guarantee from the United Kingdom Export Finance (UKEF).
Upon completion, the redeveloped market will have 6,500 leasable commercial spaces, 5,400 closed stores, 800 kiosks, 50 restaurants, 210 fishmonger and butcher stores, 40 livestock stores and 1,800m2 of community facilities.
Additionally, the project will provide other essential facilities such as a waste treatment plant, a police station, a fire station, post offices, and an amphi-theatre and first-class roads in the Central Business District of Kumasi.