Traders operating at the customs designated parking lot 7 at the Aflao border have petitioned the government to intervene in a decision by the Ghana Revenue Authority’s (GRA) customs division to evict them (traders) from the area due to the GRA’s plan to lease Lot 7 to OA Travel and Tour, a private investor.
The Traders’ spokesperson, Richard Sosu, expressed the traders’ concerns during a fact-finding visit to the area on Monday June 1, saying that the GRA customs decision to eject the traders from the lot will be detrimental to the livelihoods of the over 500 citizens who were engaged in various trades on that portion of land to feed their families.
According to the spokesman, the traders received a message(verbal) from the Aflao sector commander of the GRA customs, Assistant Commissioner Majeed Amandi on May 22, to the effect that the parking lot 7 has been allocated to OA Travels operators of long distance buses, for the company’s exclusive use and that all persons operating any form of business or trade on and around the lot 7 should take steps to quit the area by the 7th of June 2022, to avoid being forcefully ejected.
Sosu said; the traders have been trading around the lot 7 for several years now and sacking them at this time without making any provision for their relocation would adversely affect their living conditions and those of our dependants as trading here is our only source of livelihood: we are not against GRA customs decision to allocate the lot to OA Travels as we are fully aware that GRA customs owns all the parking lots at the Aflao boarder -all we are asking and appeaIing to the authorities is to consider the welfare of the hundreds of traders (citizens) hustling around here just to make ends meet”. He pleaded.
Scores of traders mostly women took turns to pour out their frustration about the ‘sack notice; saying they all owe their livelihoods to trading on and around the lot 7 and any attempt to remove them in times like these would be a show of inhumanity.
A source close to the Transport Unions Council of Aflao(TUCA) observed that OA Travels is a limited liability company which doesn’t belong to or operate under any transport union and for that matter had no business taking over parking lots for vehicles operating under transport unions. The source lamented; the GRA customs decision to release the lot 7 to OA Travels and said that; “that move was not in the interest of the general public as it would not only deprive the traders of their livelihoods but will also disrupt the activities of the various transport unions operating at the Aflao boarder”. The source wonders why OA Travels wanted a special lot for it’s operations when the company was already loading from the lot allocated to all long distance buses and called on the GRA customs to re-consider it’s decision.
Meanwhile; Some GRA customs officials could neither confirm nor deny the issue as the sector commander was not available for comment as at the time of filing this story.