Government supports Makola fire victims with over ¢2m

Government has handed over an amount of ¢2,029,000 emergency financial support to victims of the July 5, 2021 ‘Makola fire’ outbreak. 

The financial support, a grant, is to mitigate the effects of the disaster on the traders and help them revive their businesses.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kojo Kyerematen, who presented a dummy cheque to the 98 victims, said the gesture from Government was to help the affected persons get back to business. 

The money will be disbursed through the Consolidated Banks Ghana (CBG) to the victims. 

The Minister underscored the important role trade and commerce played in the economic development of countries and restated Government’s commitment to supporting traders and small and scale enterprises.

“Trading has become the channel between manufacturing and consumption, as every product that is manufactured is consumed to complete the value chain,” he said and stressed the commitment of his Ministry to traders nationwide. 

Mr Kyerematen said his commitment was unfettered because by acting as the channel between producers and consumers, trading could provide critical information as input into the production process, source of employment and serve as a platform for revenue mobilisation in support of government projects and programmes.  

“It is against this background that among the components of the Ten-Point Plan for Industrial Transformation of Ghana is enhancing Domestic Retail Trade by improving market and other distribution infrastructure as well as reducing administrative bottlenecks in domestic trade. 

“Under this component, government has sought to provide direct support to business operators in the trade and commerce ecosystem through the introduction of many measures to facilitate trade in and out of the country.

“For example, upon the assumption of office of the NPP Government in 2017, the Ministry of Trade and Industry took a strategic and decisive step to address the challenges in trade facilitation and customs management, which were impeding the work of many traders, by introducing a new Trade Facilitation and Customs Management System, UNIPASS. This new trade facilitation system has significantly improved the operations at our ports and borders.”

In addition, ” Government took another strategic decision to support traders and micro enterprises through the provision of emergency liquidity support to the tune of ¢600 million under the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAPBuSS) when the whole world was struck by the Covid-19 Pandemic”, he stated. 

Mr Kyerematen said the interventions were to demonstrate government’s commitment to the profitability and sustainability of businesses. 

He assured the traders that the team had gone through a rigorous, transparent process to determine the level of support to each victim and urged them to apply for the money to take care of very critical needs.   

The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), Kosi Yanki Ayeh, said they would liaise with the affected victims to ensure they received the support. 

She was hopeful the support would help revive the businesses and grow to support the local economy. 

Ms Ayeh said Government was in talks with insurance companies to address the issues of credit, insurance and security needed by the traders in times of disasters. 

The Mayor of Accra, Ms Elizabeth Sackey, said the gesture was to fulfil the promise government made to the affected traders.   

Dr Joseph Obeng, the President of Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), advised the traders to use the monies for the intended purposes and go by fire safety measures to avoid future occurrences.   

On behalf of other victims, Mr Fredrick Osei, a victim of the July 5 inferno, expressed appreciation to Government for the support. He appealed to Government to reduce taxes on imports to promote their businesses. 

On July 5, 2021, hosts of shops on a three-storey building at the Makola Market in the central business district, was gutted by fire, causing substantial damage to goods and property worth thousands of cedis.

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