The chairman of the University of Ghana Staff Market (bushke) Association, Mr. Cosmos Nketiah Agyekum, has blamed authorities of the University of Ghana for the gradual collapse of their businesses on campus.
Mr. Agyekum said the rampant closure of their shops by the university has resulted in the current low patronage of their foods and other goods and services by students, who have now turned their attention to other places.
He said from last year to this year alone, their shops have been closed down for close to 10 months – from July 2013 to March 2014, and about three weeks in the month of September.
These closures, he said, have led to a situation where students, their main patrons, have stopped buying from them and turned to other ‘more reliable’ places. This has resulted in their lowest sales recorded in a long time.
Mr. Agyekum disclosed this information during an interview with ugfile.com reporter, Abraham Sunkwa, on the operations of small businesses on campus. He complained that the university does not consult them in such crucial decisions but just go ahead and take them regardless of how they are affected.
A source at the office of the university’s registrar has however debunked this allegation saying that decisions taken by the university’s management always have the interest of the university at heart and therefore cannot leave certain sensitive decisions to the dictate of the traders who are only thinking of their parochial interest.
Regarding the closures, the source said they did so in order to allow time for renovations to be carried out and this could not have taken place while the traders were doing business.
Mr. Agyekum took the opportunity to make known, some security challenges they face at the market. These include the absence of security men at the market and lack of proper lighting at the market to brighten their surrounding at night.
He also stated that the staff market, popularly known as the bush canteen (or bushke for short), was originally meant for staff of the university but now anyone can own and run a business there provided he/she has the money to pay for it.
He said the aim of forming the association was to assist their members financially in times of hardship. Unfortunately, some of their members have not shown keen interest in the activities of the association and this has also resulted in their lack of a stronger voice.