The Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI) has called for immediate government support for victims of the recent Pedestrian Shopping Mall fire at Odawna to alleviate their plight.
Mr. Clement Osei-Amoako, President of GNCCI, who made the appeal, said many of the victims had contracted loans from various banks and needed to sell to enable them to repay, as well as to support their families.
He said even though government had assured the victims of support following President Nana Akufo-Addo’s visit to the site on Wednesday, November 18, 2020, providing temporary structures for them to sell ahead of the Christmas festivity would ease some of their burdens in the short term as they waited for help in the long term.
“We are asking that government provides temporary structures from now till Christmas so that they can sell and make some returns to take care of their children in January and also be able to start paying their loans,” Mr. Osei-Amoako said.
The GNCCI president made the passionate appeal when the Association paid a visit to the site to commiserate with the fire victims on Friday.
The visit was also to afford the Association the opportunity to obtain first-hand information and to assess the extent of damage caused.
Mr. Osei-Amoako added that: “We are also asking that government provides stimulus packages to support their businesses. Government should also impress on the banks to extend the loan repayment period.”
He said the Association was overwhelmed by the extent of damage, adding that going forward, safety measures must be adopted to ensure that the magnitude of such incidences were reduced.
He said as part of the Association’s mandate to support businesses to thrive, it was currently engaging the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) to see how best it could provide immediate assistance to the victims.
Mr. Osei-Amoako assured the victims of GNCCI’s continued support to ensure that they returned to business as soon as possible.
Among the delegation was Mr. Mark Boadu-Aboagye, the Chief Executive Officer of GNCCI.
Mr. Francis Obeng, Vice-Chair of the Pedestrian Shopping Mall at the Odawna, said 2000 out of the total 4500 shops within the market had been ravaged by the fire.
He said to reduce the fire outbreaks, as well as end the perennial flooding of the market, it would be prudent if the government provided a modern market complex.
He expressed disappointment in insurance companies for refusing to insure their businesses, saying that this had worsened their plight at the moment.
Fire, in the early hours of Wednesday, November 18, 2020 ravaged the Odawna Pedestrian Shopping Mall in Accra, destroying several shops and an unspecified amount of goods in the process.