The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) is galvanising public and corporate support to transform Accra into a smart city, Mr Gilbert Nii Ankrah, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Assembly, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Accra.
He said the AMA, under the leadership of Mr Mohammed Adjei Sowah, had embarked on a transformational development agenda, tagged as “Sustainable Smart City”, which would ensure that the city is freed from the chaos, congestions and inordinate building.
“The city authority would initiate a decongestion exercise in February, to enhance free movement at the Central Business District (CBD), as part of the smart city project.”
He, however, assured hawkers and traders within the CBD zone that the decongestion exercise would be undertaken with a human face to reduce the incidence of altercation with the city guards, which sometimes leads to the destruction of trader’s goods.
“The AMA Chief Executive believes that the informal sector contributes a lot to the economy and for him to clear them without proper planned activities, will deprive them one way or the other of their livelihood.”
“Traders in the first place have invaded an unauthorized zone for their economic activities, and in the process, depriving lawful usage of the facilities and infringing on the rights of pedestrians to use the pavements.
“So, in most of these areas, we have re-demarcated zones for trading along the pavements. The whole process of moving traders off the pavement is to make way for pedestrians to use it, as they have been forced to compete for space with vehicles on the roads.” he added.
He said the AMA currently has a Pedestrian Action Plan, all geared towards road safety, because “when you deprive pedestrians of the pavements, then they are forced to come back on the streets with its associated risks”.
“We must, therefore, create a safe environment for all to operate; the traders must move back to the markets and other demarcated areas for trading.
Unlawful behaviours must be checked. Lawlessness in our cities must end.”
“Accra has been planned to accommodate both traders and consumers, if you need foodstuffs, its better you go to most of the major markets, if you need spare parts you go to Abossey Okai, if you need electrical products, go to Opera.
“So let’s move away from the old paradigm that people won’t come to buy from us if we move to the market. There are specialised markets, consumers hop from market to another or shop to shop to purchase.”
He said going by the road traffic regulation, it was an offence to put anything on the pavement to impede the free movement of pedestrians.
Nii Ankrah also assured the public that the current decongestion exercise under the Sustainability Plan would ensure that city guards are available to assist pedestrians, traders, and customers move through the transition period of the exercise.
He said under the sustainability plan, the AMA would approach the decongestion exercise through a multi-sectorial collaboration, “we are going to see to it that everybody comes on board to ensure that this exercise is effective.”
“It is a call to all institutions to come on board. We need all stakeholders to play their roles as we also play our part in promoting inter-operability.