A retired researcher at the Savanna Agricultural and Research Institute, Osufo Patrick Apulla, has disagree with the government of Ghana’s decision to construct the first 600-bed hostel facility for head porters, commonly known as “Kayayei” at Agbogbloshie in the Greater Accra region.
He described the initiative as a waiste of state resources.
Osufo Apolla who is also a chief of Nyankpala Zongo is on the view that constructing a hostel facility for head potters in Accra and Kumasi will not add any meaningful in to their lives but will rather lead to increase in prostitution among female head porters.
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta during his 2020 Budget presentation in Parliament on November 13, last year 2019, happily announced the commencement of the project to provide accommodation for head porters in Accra.
The initiative is in furtherance of the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) campaign promise to head porters who drift mainly southwards from Northern Ghana, who work the day away carrying heavy loads in exchange for pittances and retire to dangerous slums on a daily basis, ahead of the 2016 general elections.
Many of them, according to reports are victims of rape and abuse; already, the government has abolished the levying of the ‘Kayayei’ in its maiden budget in 2017 in its quest of relieving the already burdened young women.
But the chief of Nyankpala Zongo faults the government for supporting the building of hostels to house ‘Kayeyei’ in the capital city, instead of championing for the total abolishment of the demeaning trade by the people of the North.
Mr Patrick Apolla suggested that government instead of providing accommodation for head porters in Accra, should rather channel the funds to various District Assemblies in the Northern part of the country to enable them provide skills training to these vulnerable young women to stop this Urban migration in this part of the country.
“I think the idea of government to house our brothers and sisters in Accra is not the best. It’s a waste of tax payers money. This is going to increase prostitution, lesbianism and other criminal activities amongs others”.
“They are there, without any body’s guide, therefore they are into all kind of indiscipline activities, so therefore government should rather be thinking of abolishing the demeaning trade by our sisters by sending backed them back to their various communities. Let them come back home and join farming business, instead of building hostels for prostitutio”, he fumed.
Kayayei, practice has been in existence in Ghana for decades and children between ages 15 to 18 and adults 45 years and above, engaged in what is described as a hand-to-mouth job.
Analysts have suggested the need for government to make the Northern part of Ghana economically viable and habitable to minimize the migration.
Government, however, maintains that the initiative, like those under the Zongo Development Fund and the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP), would help build a more inclusive society where every community would have equal opportunity in getting access to basic infrastructure and services like water, toilets, market, education and health.