The Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council (GARCC) has presented GH¢90,000 support to traders who lost their shops to the recent fire outbreak at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle.
The money, which was presented to the market leaders yesterday, was disbursed to 45 traders whose shops were affected by the inferno, with each trader receiving GH¢2,000.
Aside from that, the council is also making plans to liaise with the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) to ensure that fire extinguishers are installed at various points within the trading areas as a way of preventing other future fire outbreaks of such magnitude.
A fire outbreak that occurred on Sunday, May 21, this year destroyed several stores including phone shops, cosmetics, wine shops and many others at Circle, behind the Royal VIP Station.
It took personnel from the GNFS, with support from the police, several hours to douse the fire which was reported to have started around 1 p.m.
There were no casualties and the cause is yet to be established.
“I will meet with the various assemblies to discuss how to work with the Fire Service to see how we can procure fire extinguishers for the shops so that in the event of a fire the traders can begin to douse it before it gets out of hand,” the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Henry Quartey, said.
He admitted that fire outbreaks had become a common phenomenon in the country, especially in Accra.
To tackle the situation, he said, it was about time the Health and Safety Officers at the various assemblies, as well as other stakeholders, worked together to bring lasting solutions to the situation.
“Firstly, we need to understand why and what causes these fires and once we understand them, that is when we can have a solution, both medium and permanent.
But in the interim, it is imperative for the assemblies to go round and educate the traders in basic fire safety precautions,” the regional minister said.
According to him, the government was making plans to modernize most of the markets in the region and other parts of the country to help prevent market disasters and also provide a more convenient place for the traders.
Until then, Mr Quartey urged the traders to operate within the confines of the law and avoid any illegal electricity connections.
In addition, he urged them to adopt some safety fire prevention measures.
“Government will do its part but it’s also up to you the traders to ensure that your wares are safe.
Avoid putting up a fire in the marketplace and don’t leave any naked fire unattended to.
If all of you comply with this simple rule, we can prevent the reoccurrence of these fire incidents,” he said.
The Chairman of the Circle Traders Association, Nana Kwame Boakye, commended the government for coming to their aid.
He also lauded the regional minister for giving them the leeway to continue to ply their trade within the area.
“I’ve traded in this market for close to 19 years and there have been several fire outbreaks but this is the first time affected victims have received some money from the government,” Nana Boakye said.
“Initially, we thought they were going to cordon the place off and stop us from trading here but they have given us the chance to continue our trade and we are very appreciative of that,” he added.
He further assured the GARCC that as a leader in the market, he was going to ensure that every trader in the areas complied to fire safety measures and also prevent anyone from engaging in illegal connections.