Vendors at the Bakoteh Fish Market

By Morro L Minteh

Vendors at the Bakoteh Fish Market, have called on Talib Ahmed Bensouda, the Mayor of the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC), to look into their plight and to also know how they are treated by Council; that they are yet to receive an answer from Council, following their engagement with them regarding the high dues they continue to pay.

“We built the shops by ourselves. We pay our dues regularly every day. We are struggling daily to make ends meet. But the KMC still continues with the new tariff which is not favourable to us at all. The tariff should commensurate with our daily earnings and should not have been imposed on us. We should have been engaged by Council before the increment of the tariff from D10 to D20,” the vendors complained.

They continued that the Mayor should know their plight as petty traders particularly vendors, because they contributed to put him in office; that the tax collectors are difficult people who deal with them in an unwarranted manner.

Members of the Market Committee confirmed to Foroyaa, that they have sent two delegations to engage the KMC authorities but that this has yielded nothing.

“This is a clear manifestation that the Mayor has less concern about our issue,” they complained; that they want to remind the KMC authorities that their only source of income is the Market; that for this reason, Council should not come up with any policy or rate that will not help them. According to the members of the market committee, they want the KMC tax management, to revisit the tax collection system, and put it in line with their affordability, because business is slow, and income hard to come by.

“We are the ones that put them in office and they are our servants. Therefore, we want them to work with us amicably,’’ one vendor told this reporter.

Foday Conteh, a shopkeeper said tax collectors at the market should change the way they deal with them because they are human beings.

The head of the Market Committee Buba Jallow, said that they are the ones who built their shops with their own funds; but that they are maltreated by tax officials, who should have helped them instead.

“All these suffering is due to the increased duty imposed on us, that we are not willing to pay,” said Jallow.

He lamented the lacked of security in the market as a serious concern, affirming that whole market is looked after by one man; that this has not reduced break-ins by thieves. According to Jallow, whenever robbers visit the market, they always break shops and take away their merchandise and urged the authorities of the KMC to come up with a definitive solution to their problems.

The PRO of KMC when contacted to shed light on the issues raised by the vendors, declined to comment adding that she is not aware of any delegation visiting the KMC.

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