By Fatoumatta K Jallow
Vendors at the Bakoteh market are lamenting the high cost of rent and tax, amongst other expenses which they are compelled to incur in operating their business and thus call on the new government to come to their aid.
Buba Jallow, one of the vendors, explained how doing business at the said market is very expensive in terms of operational costs and the payment of high tax to the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), even though the shops they occupy where constructed by them.
“Every year we pay D3500 as tax to GRA D3500 plus 300 every month for the shop, D10 every day as duty and D2 every time we want to use the toilet and if we don’t pay these sums our shops would be closed,” he said.
He said this is the reason why they are appealing to the new government to help them reduce these payments otherwise their survival and that of their businesses which depend on the little this little income they make would be threatened.
Also speaking, Aji Fatou Mboge said operating a business in the market is getting more and more difficult every day. She noted that some of the shops, including hers, are located in a flood prone area which gets inundated during the rains and thus drive away customers.
She also appeals for support from government to address these pressing concerns facing the vendors.
For his part, Pa Sallah, the chairman of the market vendors, said the payment of tax, GRA and monthly rent of the shops are very expensive. He therefore calls on the new government to come to their aid and help them reduce such expenses in order to make ends meet and to be freed from ‘hand to mouth’ survival.
“Despite paying D10 every day and D300 every month, we still need some basic facilities which are not available in the market,” said the market chairman.
They added that apart from these payments, the market also pay D50, 000 every month on electricity. “Sometimes each of the shops is asked to pay D300 monthly and which some of the shop owners do not pay for up to two months,” he added.