Traders at a major Ada market in the Greater Accra region are struggling to do business on the small parcel of land left at their workplace as a government project to renovate the facility has stalled for years.
Construction work on the sheds and lockable shops, under the government’s Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP), has been abandoned even after funds for the project have been disbursed.
The project commenced in 2020.
Affected market women said the ‘decaying’ project is threatening their source of livelihood.
The Kasseh market, located between Sege and Sogakope, is the largest market in Ada West and Ada East as well as both the South and North Tongu districts.
Serving communities in the Greater Accra, Volta, and Eastern regions for decades, it is the major source of income for many women in Ada. Stocked with a wide variety of goods, people, scents, and the sounds of hustle and bustle, one can literally get any food and household item to buy.
Connected to all communities and villages in Ada East and Ada West through a network of roads and paths, the always-busy-Kasseh market alas these days immediately transforms into a mud bath with the slightest rainfall on account of the stalled construction work.
A need assessment conducted by the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives (MSDI) in 2017 identified the lack of appropriate market facilities in rural communities as a key issue requiring government intervention.
The Kasseh Market was identified as one of the 50 deplorable markets across Ghana which needed refurbishment to relieve traders of the burden they endured.
The Kasseh market’s renovation comes with ultra-modern market sheds, an open pavilion with pavement and a creche.
When The Fourth Estate visited the market, work on sheds and lockable stalls had halted. While the stalls are at footing level, sheds for the traders have pillars erected on a concreted ground with a wooden framework for the roofing constructed with some having blocks around them.
Some traders have invested in canopies and large umbrellas to protect them from the scorching sun. Others have resigned to sitting under the scorching sun as they uncomfortably sell their products.
In an interview, the women revealed that their efforts to get the project completed to serve its desired purpose have been fruitless.
“We are currently helpless with only the expression of dissatisfaction and disappointment over the government’s inability to honor its own promise,’’ Paulina Maamle Agbloe, a maize seller, said.
Some of them told The Fourth Estate that the contractor and workers on the project have not visited the site for years.
The uncompleted project, according to them, has drastically limited the space to do trading business in the market as a portion of the facility has been cordoned off.
”This has placed financial burdens on us because we now have to rent big umbrellas and canopies on market days,’’ one of the market women said, pleading with the local government to indulge the contractor to return to the site.
The market project, which is under IPEP with MSDI and the Coastal Development Authority (CODA) as the supervising and implementing agency was billed to be completed within six months in 2020.
However, it was halted abruptly soon after sod-cutting on May 14, 2020. The project was scheduled for completion in November 2020.
“The DCE kept assuring us and even before they start, there were structures there that the market women were using and they were all demolished with the belief and assurance that the money was ready for the project,’’ the Assembly Member for Kasseh, Ebenezer Tetteh Kpodo told The Fourth Estate.
Multiple efforts to engage the contractor of Rock Solution Limited, Mr. Glover Tetteh have proved futile.
In a letter signed by the Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Corporate, Communication, and Compliance at CODA, Mona Gertrude Effah (ESQ), the contract sum of about GHC 2,000,000 has been awarded to Rock Solutions Limited to construct stalls and sheds in the Kasseh Market. Out of that almost GHC 600,000 was paid to the contractor.
She, however, told The Fourth Estate that the projects had been abandoned due to a delay in payment.
“When someone is awarded a contract, we have stages where they have to raise certificates, go for some of their money and go back to the site. So, within the period of getting their money, they might leave the site because it might be taking a long time. Sometimes [a] payment can go as long as a year through the process [Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System(GIFMIS)],” she said.
The Ada East District Assembly has meanwhile said it had no knowledge of the project in a response to an RTI request by The Fourth Estate even though its current District Chief Executive (DCE), Sarah Dugbakie Pobee, cut sod for the project in May 2020.
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