He said government in consultation with all stakeholders, intends to reconstruct and better protect the country’s markets and trading spaces.
Dr. Bawumia, accompanied by the Minister for National Security, Hon Albert Kan Dapaah, Minister for Interior, Hon Ambrose Dery, Greater Accra Regional Minister Hon Ishmael Ashittey, and officials of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), gave the hint when he toured the parts of the Kantamanto market devastated by fire on Tuesday, December 15.
The leadership of the market say at least 2,592 persons have been directly affected by the fire, with sheds, stalls and ‘warehouses’ razed to the ground. Many traders expressed deep pain about the loss particularly of school uniforms procured for supply ahead of the re-opening of schools when Covid 19 restrictions are eased to allow schooling. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
A visibly upset Vice President Bawumia indicated he will lead a Government delegation to meet with leadership of the market and other stakeholders to look at ways to provide humanitarian as well as business support to the affected traders. The meeting will also discuss the modalities for the reconstruction of the market with more durable material instead of the current use of wood, as well as explore ways of beefing up security, he hinted.
“This is a devastating human tragedy. I am told over 2,592 persons have been directly affected, with thousands more indirectly affected. This is a very sad situation. So many of our fellow citizens losing their day-to-day means of living is unacceptable,” he stated.
“While investigations continue into this tragedy, we also have work to do. I have thus called for a meeting on Friday, in my office, with the leadership of the market and all the stakeholders in the operation of this market in particular and markets in general, to discuss how we can, firstly, help the victims in Kantamanto, by providing some assistance. NADMO is already here, but we will do more.
“Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, we will look at rebuilding, using more durable, fire-resistant material instead of wood, to prevent such devastation in future. We will also look at ways to better protect our markets. As you can see, I have members of the security apparatus with me here. We have already begun discussions on that front.”
While consoling the traders for their loss, Vice President Bawumia assured of government’s intention to help get them back on their feet and secure their businesses against such occurrences in future, and called for their support when such works begin.