Ashaiman market is one of the largest markets in the Greater Accra region, it thus attracts various business-minded people from all walks of life, who would want to trade.
There is no doubt that, the over flowing state of the market, is one causative factor of that attracts people.
During the day, you would see poor market women running helter- skelter in the scorching sun just to earn a living to feed their families.
However, traders in Ashaiman, are often served a raw deal, as far as the price they pay to rent a space or store for their business transaction.
Should they continue like this, how do they then get to feed their children, talk less of paying their school fees?
Is it fair that you struggle as hard as you can to make ends meet yet your children are often sacked for failing to pay school fees?
It is a pity, because I doubt it is a parent’s dream to work from dawn to dusk, but still be unable to take care of her children.
This reporter, took the pain to inquire from the market women, how they go about the rent prices.
Trust me, it is very sad. According to some of them, it is not easy to be working all day, while at the end of the day, the money goes into someone else’s pocket.
One other pathetic aspect is that, when they plead make part payment and pay the rest later, the landlords never agree.
Others also said, they are going to stop working and be at home and die, rather than they working into the pockets of others.
To them, the rent prices are outrageously high and each and every year, the owners of the shops, try to increase it making it very unbearable.
Isn’t this sad to hear? To the best of my knowledge, the fruit of every business transaction is profit. But here, it is not.
According to the Rent Act 220, it is illegal for landlords to charge rent beyond six months in advance, but here, what do we see?
Even if these market women plead to pay gradually, the store owners and landlords would not agree.
They won’t even reduce the price to make it affordable for them. So do these landlords have sympathy at all?
In fact, this is a big issue which no one seems to tackle but to me, it is an issue that demands critical attention from the authorities.
Looking at most of the stores and spaces in the market, they do not even belong to the government but rather, private individuals whothink the government has no say in this, but it’s a big no! The government has a key role to play in this. Sometimes, stores are rented to the extent that, the little space in front of the stores that customers are to stand to make purchasesare even rented out.
If stores and lands are like polythene bags or ‘ecolac’ bags, I believe everyone would have carried theirs from wherever they were coming from to avoid such problems, but unfortunately, they aren’t.
To draw the curtains down, I call on the government to come to the aid of these poor market women before it gets out of hand.Again, the Rent Control Law needs to be re-implemented.Measures should be taken to make sure that it works to avoid chaos, if not so, there is going to be a higher rate of armed robbery in the country some years to come since parents find it difficult to earn money to cater for the education of their children.
OCANSEY NAIMATU KORNGO.
Ghana Institute of Journalism