The Old Market in the Bolgatanga Municipality in the Upper East Region is gradually collapsing following the inability of the Assembly to adopt prudent measures to activate it.
Even though parts of the market is in use, a bigger portion has been turned into places of convenience by residence living closer, while drug peddlers and drug users have fields day doing their illicit businesses.
The market until its closure about two decades ago for rehabilitation and expansion works to be carried on, was the commercial nerve centre of business in the regional capital.
On market days, which falls on every three days, most of the few traders selling in the old market abandon the market and join their colleagues at the new market where business is brisk.
The Ghana News Agency search indicated that the Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly makes huge losses in revenue collection as result of its inability to activate the market.
The few traders there, the GNA gathered, have consistently refused to pay levies to the Assembly because the Assembly had failed to bring the traders back to the old market which has suffered low patronage for a long time.
The GNA search further uncovered that the Assembly had failed to do proper allocations of the stores to the rightful traders as result of political interventions and favouritism, which had constantly bedevilled efforts to do the allocations.
When the GNA spoke to some of the traders in the market, they contended that food stuff and other consumable goods such as millet, maize, yam, cassava among others were highly patronised in the Municipality, but mostly sold by traders at the new market which compelled customers to abandon the old market for the new one.
Most of the traders who were allocated stores at the old market had locked them up and taken spaces from the new market to trade, a situation some of the few traders in the old market condemned and called on officials of the Assembly to act on as soon as possible.
Mrs Zenabu Faruku a Wax Prints seller confirmed to the GNA that some owners of the locked stores had left for the new market due to the low sales they recorded each day.
Mrs Faruku lamented that consumers had been misinformed that prices of commodities at the old market were very expensive and so they hardly shopped at the old market.
According to Mr Mubarak Abubakar another trader at the old market, the inactivity at the market had encouraged theft and poor sanitation through open defecation and dumping of waste materials all over the market and indicated that it could lead to outbreak of diseases.
He urged the Municipal Assembly to create enough space at the old market to contain people who were into consumable goods to boost business and increase revenue.
Madam Janet Salifu a trader expressed worry at the inability of the Assembly to re-allocate some of the stores which were locked up by some traders to others who were ready to stay there, do business and pay revenue to the Assembly, and said “owners of the locked stores were not even ready to release them for other people who wanted to rent them to do so”.
Madam Zenabu Atangma, advised the Municipal Assembly to develop the old market and create enough space to admit food stuff and consumable goods traders, because it was a major source of revenue to the Assembly.
Efforts to get the Bolgatanga Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr Joseph Ameyuure to speak to these reporters proved futile. However, earlier this month, the MCE told Journalists at a press soiree organised at the instance of the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council that there were plans to move traders who sell cereals and other food stuff to the new market.
According to him, the Assembly had pushed down a toilet facility located at section of the new market to prepare a place to accommodate traders, but could not specifically state when the targeted traders would be moved from the new market to the old one.