Kumasi, Ashanti Region, Ghana//-Some traders at the Kejetia Market in Kumasi are locking up their shops over high electricity cost.
Individual shop owners currently pay between GHS500 and GHS2,500 monthly as cost of electricity, following last year’s increase in utility tariffs.
Chairman of Federation of Kumasi Traders, Nana Akwasi Prempeh, says the recently-announced tariff adjustment will deepen the woes of traders.
Traders at Kejetia market for the past three years have been battling with management and the board of the market for separate electricity meters.
The traders share a single metering system for their business activities.
They say the absence of separate meters has been a stress on their businesses.
Chairman of the Federation of Kumasi Traders, Nana Akwasi Prempeh, says traders who cannot afford current electricity costs have locked up their shops.
“The high electricity bills are making us close our shops. But if we had our individual meters, we can manage the electricity credits we buy per month. Out of the 7,203 shops, we are all hooked to one meter.
“At the canteen area, some are paying over 2,500 cedis, 1,700 cedis, 1,200 cedis a month. When they calculate and realize they are running at a loss, they close the shop,” he explained.
Before the upward adjustment of utility prices last year, the traders were billed about 380,000 cedis monthly, which shot up to over 500,000 cedis.
They described the situation as unbearable and demanded separate meters.
“We the traders are willing to pay for the cost of the meters, we have written several letters to management, board, ECG and local government, we are making a passionate appeal to the local government for separate meters immediately,” Nana Prempeh appealed.
The operations manager for the Kejetia Traders Association, Ahmed Kwarteng, said the board chair of the facility, Samuel Pyne, has promised to start the separate meter project by the end of this month.
He says the urge to close shops will defeat the purpose of the market.
“We had a series of meetings with the Kumasi Mayor, Sam Pyne. He has assured us each shop will be given a metre before January ends. We are hoping he does. If he fails, we will go to the Energy Minister, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh,” he said.