Tuesday, July 10, 2012

out-hawking the hawkers

In Accra, Ghana, thousands of street traders who obeyed the government and moved indoors to the newly created Pedestrian Shopping Mall are crying foul about a new burst of competition -- you guessed it! -- from rival street hawkers who have set up outside their building.

GhanaWeb reports that the indoor shopping mall on Kwame Nkrumah Circle is empty because shoppers flock to the hawkers who have set up shop just outside its doors.

"Some shoppers," one indoor trader told the news service, "even say they do not know of the existence of the pedestrian shopping mall." One of the outdoor hawkers offered this riposte: "Customers will not buy even if we are all taken off the street and put in the mall. Ghanaians are impulsive buyers. When they see the goods on their way home, they are tempted to purchase them."

The merchants in the Shopping Mall have threatened to retake the streets if the government does not take action. It's a good idea. Why do the authorities always think it is better to force hawkers off the streets?

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