Over 300 artisans operating from a greenbelt in the Tema Light Industrial area have appealed to the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) to stop the planned eviction and demolition exercise and allow them to continue operating from the place.
The group also recommended to the TMA that they incorporate their activities alongside its proposed transit park project as their eviction would create a major socio-economic imbalance in Tema.
The artisans, comprising fabricators, welders, mechanics, and electricians, as well as spare parts dealers, said even though the TMA had asked them to vacate the place or have their containers and items demolished on Friday, September 8, 2023, they have nowhere to relocate to.
Mr. Evans Doe Tottimeh, a spokesperson for the artisans and haulage truck owner, who led a group to the Ghana News Agency to lodge an appeal, noted that even though they had received the notice to vacate the place, they have petitioned the Assembly to consider giving them part of the land to operate on as they were willing to pay for its usage.
The GNA learnt that the TMA had decided to evict the artisans from the greenbelt to allow an investor to develop the land into a parking place for the transit trucks after their discharge from the port.
According to a TMA official, Transit Truck Drivers loaded with goods from the Tema Port and discharged have turned the shoulders of the Tema Harbour to Tema Interchange road into a parking place, posing danger to road users, hence the need to develop the park for their use.
This, however, has become a source of worry for the artisans, who fear the taskforce of the Assembly would carry out their threat of clearing their items from the said land.
Mr. Tottimeh said currently, those who operated from the place have been paying tolls to the Assembly, adding that they have also invested heavily in the hitherto waterlogged land and were therefore ready to pay to operate from there.
Mr. Joshua Adawu, a mechanic who was part of the leaders said their services as artisans would still be needed by motorists, including transit truck drivers, as they provided ready mechanic, electrical, welding, and fabricating services to drivers when their vehicles developed a fault.
He said that apart from worsening their economic conditions, their eviction would also affect the students at Tema Technical Institute, who often receive internships and practical training from them.
Ms. Elizabeth Ayirebi, a spare parts dealer, reiterated their plea for TMA to consider giving them portions to operate, indicating that their operations help the local economy and revenue mobilisation since they pay their bills and other taxes; therefore, displacing them would lead to hardship for them and their dependents.
When the GNA contacted the TMA for their response, an official noted that the Assembly would discuss their petition but urged the group to collaborate with the assembly for the development of Tema.
Source: Ghana News Agency