The Techiman main market, which was shut down for about a week, has been reopened for commercial activities with the establishment of additional eight satellites market centres to ease congestion amid the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
The Techiman Municipal Assembly in the Bono East capital closed the market – one of the biggest and busiest marketplaces in the country. The move was prompted by massive congestion and poor observation of COVID-19 safety protocols such as social distancing – a violation of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s directive on public places to help stem spread of the deadly virus that has besieged the world.
“After a broader consultation with all the relevant stakeholders and preparation of eight different sites as temporary satellites markets, authorities resolved to reopen trading activities at the main market as well as the new ones with strict implementation of COVID-19 safety protocols,” Techiman Municipal Chief Executive, John Donyina, told B&FT.
He said the Assembly has introduced a system whereby retail traders will be shuttling between the main market and satellite markets weekly, indicating that the decision is to ensure fairness as business-traffic at the main market jams more than the newly created ones. This improvised system will not affect trade volumes at the Techiman Market, he added.
The Techiman Market was closed between April22 and 29. As at April 29, about 90 percent of traders had returned to the Techiman Market. The rest, mostly traders outside the Techiman jurisdiction, are expected to join their colleagues in the days ahead, the MCE indicated.
“Initially, the Assembly proposed eleven satellite markets; but after a careful review, it was realised that eight selected sites, including school parks, were enough to promote the requisite social distancing protocol. Provisions have been made for places of convenience and urinals at these satellite markets. We hope to sustain these measures to help decongest our market centres.”
Commenting on revenue, Mr. Donyina said COVID-19 and its resultant austere social and economic living has affected the Assembly’s revenue streams. Since time immemorial, the Techiman Market has been a cash-cow for the Assembly. The market attracts traders from across the sub-region and is one of the busiest trading points in the country, where commodities such as maize, yam, cowpea, onion, rice and vegetables are traded in huge quantities.
The MCE revealed that the Assembly is working around the clock to diversify its revenue streams by targetting other avenues like property rates. He noted that the Techiman Municipal Assembly is among 48 selected MMDAs in the country that have benefitted from an ongoing property valuation project by the Local Government Ministry in collaboration with GIZ, adding that property valuation data will inform the Assembly’s revenue collection.