Increment of Market Fees Receives Mixed Reactions

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Following the increment of the market duty at Latri Kunda Sabiji market by the KanifingMunicipality from D3.00 (three dalasis) to D5.00 (five dalasis) vendors at the said market have reacted to the move with mixed feelings.

Speaking to this reporter yesterday morning many market vendors seem not to have welcomed the new fees.

Omar Conateh, a dealer in secondhand clothing, said that increment is too much compared to their sales. "At least D3.00 was reasonable but D5.00 is too much to some of us" he said.

"Actually the increment started on the 1st of this month and I believe it's going to help us, especially if the fund is used to develop the markets," says Sarabanding Kongira an orange seller. "If you sell at least D100.00 a day just to remove five dalais from that is indeed very reasonable," she added.

For Numukunda Kalleh, an ice seller at the market, the increment is too much. "It's too much because the business is not going well these days," she lamented. She appealed to the Council to consider leaving the duty at the previous rate of D3.00.

Binta Jaiteh, a dry fish vendor, said they have no option except to pay the money, but they are not pleased with the move. "People are thinking of what to eat because things are not easy in this country. I have school-going children. I need to take care of them as well as our feeding. So if I am to save D5.00 every day it will be a lot of money before the end of the year. So the increment is too much for some of us."

"One sad thing about the whole issue is that when the duty man comes, whether you make sales or not he will force you to pay or seize your goods," says Binta.

A bitter-cola seller, who wants to remain anonymous equally, complained about the increment. "At least D3.00 is fair, but D5.00 is too much, looking at the business," he said.

For Mansata Cham, a resident of Sukuta who sells edible leaves at the said market, D5.00 is just too much. "We used to buy the container at D100.00, but now we are buying it at D150.00 and our profit is too small," she stressed.

Naffie Bajan, who sells sugar and 'ataya', said the council should consider the petty traders like her. "You see today I made only D25.00 profit and I am going to prepare lunch for my family from there. So if I pay five dalasis as duty then I would only be left with D20.00 and you know rice is expensive," she complained.

Mrs. Amie Jatta, a charcoal seller said, "yesterday I paid D5.00 as duty and I was given a ticket, but for today I only paid three dalasis but I wasn't issued any ticket".

She said that they usually buy their charcoal from Casamance, pay customs duties, Forestry department and transportation costs. Before we reach here we normally pay a lot of money, so if we are now asked to pay D5.00 as duty, that is too much for us" she added. She appeals to the council to consider their plight.

Meanwhile, when contacted for their reaction to the story, Pa Kalipha Sanyang the Public Relations Officer of KMC confirmed that they have increased the daily market fees from D3 to D5 as of 1st January 2009.

He revealed that the increment doesn't affect only Latri Kunda Sabiji market but all their markets. He said that the move was meant to enable the council expand its markets and to build new ones. He said that some councils in the country have increased their market daily fees since last year. He said this include Banjul and the provinces. "We would have loved to maintain the three dalasis but we want to improve the quality of municipal infrastructure," he said.

PRO Sanyang also said that as far as they are concerned no report of double standards by the duty men was reported, but urged all the market users to expose any one found misbehaving. "The council will not hesitate to sack such individuals," he promised.

Author: Nfamara Jawneh