INSTILLING SANITY IN OUR MARKETS

ALL well-meaning Ghanaians in the Accra metropolis will agree with the proactive measures being adopted by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly to bring sanity to the Central Business District of Accra.

Though belated, the measures are to prevent the frequent market fires in the area, and ensure free movement of vehicles, pedestrians and enhance accessibility to the markets.

The directive by the Assembly to all markets in the metropolis to open at 6am and close at 6 p.m., is considered one of the best strategies to deal with the worrying incidence of perennial fires.

The Assembly has also cautioned users of markets in its jurisdiction not to install industrial equipment, machines and combustible items in them, without the approval of the Electricity Company of Ghana, as well as the Ghana National Fire Service.

It has also warned that apart from chop bar and restaurant operators, no person should do any cooking in any market.

Besides, the Assembly is to collaborate with the ECG and engage contractors to disconnect all illegal electrical connections in the markets, and prosecute all who flout this order.

These and many more proactive decisions by the AMA and its stakeholders are commendable and must be enforced to the letter, to save this country the millions of cedis lost to market fires, every now and then.

The infernos could be attributed to non-adherence to safety measures by traders and patrons of markets, and the subsequent embarrassment to governments, which have to use the country’s scare resources to rehabilitate them, in cases of fire outbreaks.

While we agree that the frequent power outages also contribute to the fires, in some instances, we also hold the traders accountable for their blatant refusal to conform to the fire safety measures put in place by the Ghana National Fire Service sometimes.

We hope the AMA, with the assistance of stakeholders, would rigidly enforce the measures they have outlined to ensure success.

The Times cautions that the exercise be carried out free of politics so that it can be sustained, irrespective of which government is in the saddle.

Once the exercise proves successful in the Accra metropolis, it should be replicated in the other regions and districts to halt future market fires in their tracks.

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