Youth groups in the La Municipality in the Greater Accra region have vowed to resist any move to sell the Ghana International Trade Fair Company (GTFC) to a private investor without recourse to the original owners of the land.
They have also warned to deal ruthlessly with any chief or traditional authority that acquiesces to any agreement with the government to sell the GTFC to a so-called strategic investor.
The youth claim to have gotten wind of moves by the government to offload its stake in the Trade Fair Company to a private investor under the guise of a public private partnership (PPP) arrangement.
The company is said to be indebted to institutions, individuals and service providers in excess of two million Ghana cedis.
The debt coupled with the lack of funds has reportedly affected the effective running of the GTFC.
But the La Youth Association and the La Citizens Network contended that successive governments deliberately ran down the company in order to make it easy to sell it.
Speaking in an interview with Today the Country Coordinator for the La Citizens Network, Nii Yemofio Yemo, warned that the La youth will resist any attempt(s) to sell the Trade Fair Company.
According to him, after the government acquired land from the traditional authorities in La in 1965 for the Ghana Trade Fair project, it failed to compensate the stool for the land.
He said in 2013 the youth wrote to the Ghana Trade Fair Company to inform its chief executive officer about their plans to picket against the entity for non-payment of the compensation.
“Consequently, the CEO, Mr. Emmanuel Commey, met us at the La chief’s palace and pleaded with us to exercise patience,” he recounted.
In that meeting it came out that the unpaid compensation had accumulated to about $18 Million dollars,” Nii Yemo disclosed.
He said since that meeting the people of La have been waiting in anticipation of the release of the money to enable them develop the La community only to hear that frantic efforts were being made to sell the GTFC.
Nii Yemo said it was sad that successive governments deliberately left the Trade Fair centre to deteriorate to the extent that the place which used to be a hub for international exhibitions does not have running water and electricity.
“Now the place has turned into a ground for all manner of churches,” he fumed and said all these were done to make it possible for the sale.
The La Citizens Network country coordinator observed that the La Traditional Council has lost huge tracks of land including land for the development of University of Ghana, the Kotoka Internal Airport, the Trade Fair site among others all in the national interest.
He pointed out it would be disastrous for the La stool to lose the Trade Fair site too.
Last week the youth marched to the La Mantse’s palace with the intention to meet with the traditional council over the matter.
According to Nii Yemo, the youth were informed that the La Mantse, Nii Kpobi Tettey-Tsuru III was not around hence the meeting was postponed.
He said the youth will continue to probe till they get to the bottom of the matter.
One thing is certain “they cannot sell Trade Fair,” he assured. Pix: Ekwow Spio Garbrah
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