Tamale market traders fight assembly
2011-09-14 20:28:08This article has been read 792 times.Traders in the Tamale Central Market are up in arms against the authorities of the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly for imposing high levies on them without any justification.
The Assembly, “without any consultation,” has astronomically adjusted the market levy from the original GHp70 to GH¢3.00 a day. But the aggrieved traders insist that the fee was highly unreasonable, and that they would do everything possible to ensure that it was reversed, or unanimously agreed upon by both the traders and the city authorities.
The Chairman of the Tamale Central Market Union, Mr. Laminu Kasim, told The Chronicle that if by Monday, the authorities of the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly did not rescind their decision, or follow the laid down procedure by way of soliciting their collective views, they would strongly hit the streets, or vacate the market indefinitely.
According to him, even though the traders were aware of their tax obligations, and were always predicting some kind of increment in the future, they were fiercely resisting the current adjustment, basically, because the Assembly, within the last 30 years, had completely failed to properly utilise the levies collected from the traders.
He indicated that the Tamale Central Market was currently a time bomb, since it was highly prone to fire outbreaks due to the numerous illegal tapping of electricity by most of the traders.
“We have told the Assembly to negotiate with VRA to provide electricity poles within the market to enable the traders do proper connections, but nothing has been done about that, and because of that, the traders are left with no other option than to tap electricity from their neighbours in the market. It is a very dangerous thing, and all of us are afraid, but what can you do,” the Chairman asked.
Mr. Kasim bemoaned that any incidents of fire outbreaks in any part of the market would become a very devastating situation, because fire tenders would not be able to access the market as a result of congestion and poor construction of the place.
The Chronicle gathered that almost all the structures or stores in the market were put up by individual traders, but they pay levies on them to the assembly.
The sanitation situation in the Tamale Central Market is not pleasant, and the traders allege that the assembly had refused to employ sweepers to manage waste in the market, in spite of the taxes they pay.
They complained about the lack of toilet facilities in the market, and how filth that had engulfed the place, especially in this raining season, was driving their customers away.
Some of the aggrieved traders, including, Madam Joyce Boateng a.k.a. Ataa Maame, Madam Safura Osman, and Alhaji Musah Amadu, also complained about the refusal of the Assembly to provide security lights in the market to drive away thieves, wee smokers, prostitutes, and other criminals who turn the market into their haven at night.
They hinted that some traders, who accidentally returned from their trips at midnight and tried to off load their goods, sometimes ended up being victimised or robbed by those criminals.
The traders have reported the matter to the Chief of Tamale, Naa Dakpema Mohammed Alhassan Dawuni, appealing to him to prevail on the city authorities to reverse their decision to increase the market levy from Gp70 to GH¢3 a day.
It was also alleged that the Chief had ordered the traders not to make any payments to any tax collector until they come to a consensus with the assembly.
As a result, the assembly is said to have also refused to attend a meeting summoned by the Chief to mediate between the traders and the city authorities.
Kassim Laminu is the Chairman of the Tamale Central Market.