By: Jerromie S. Walters
Duala, Bushrod Island-WTVNEWS: Contrary to the immediate and prominent reason a modern market facility was constructed for marketers at Duala is yet to be achieved as dozens of marketers are still in the main street selling.
Some marketers have accused the Liberia Marketers Association (LMA) of inflating the cost of tables/spots at $75 USD, instead of 500 Liberian Dollars as required by its regulation.
In an interview with WOMEN’S TV-LIBERIA recently, some aggrieved marketers especially women attributed their inability to secure spot in the new building to action by the LMA in making the distribution process challenging, costly, and criminally prioritizing marketers from Red Light and Water Side.
At the official dedication ceremony of the facility on Thursday, February 10, 2022, President George Weah said the structure is specifically targeted to improving the lives of struggling marketers who labor daily through harsh economic conditions with an aim of earning a living and reducing poverty, but it appears completely contrary as hundreds of marketers remain victims of the challenge, amid the presence of the modern facility.
Marketers interested in occupying a LMA governing market facility, are obligated to pay a stipulated cost of 500 LRD for subscription (To take ownership), and a daily due payment of 20 LD per table, unlike Duala, it is allegedly contrary.
The delictuous act which is allegedly being masterminded by heads of the LMA, also led to a suppressive delay in the period marketers were to move to the new facility.
Since the official dedication of the market on February 10 2022, marketers were finally authorized to move in on Saturday, March 19. 2022, which is over five (5) weeks since the dedication.
Mamie Stewart, a marketer at Duala alleged that heads of the LMA are taking ownership of over three (3) tables each, (while hundreds are yet to have any), with an intend of making it scarce inorder to have it sold to marketers at an unrealistic cost.
“The leaders are into it, here’s another table with a leader name, Amos Weah, he’s not using it but if you need it, you will have to pay 200 USD, 75 USD, or 15,000 LRD, especially now that they have made the process difficult and we are left out,” she alleged.
Mamie expressed dismay in the situation, adding that they, as pioneer members of Duala market are not being prioritized. ” Those of us who were here when we had the old building, we don’t have table, because they are selling it to outsiders, and some of us don’t have the amount they are requesting because my business small, and I have responsibilities,” Mamie Stewart explained.
Dixon Doe who also professed of being a prominent member of Duala, narrated the tedious circumstances surrounding the possibility of securing a spot or table at the newly dedicated market and how she and other marketers were allegedly maltreated by the LMA.
“The first set of people they were giving tables to from 1 to 50, they were giving us 80 tables but the first day they shared 50, my name was to 43 and my mother name was to 16, they jumped over our names and gave the other people table, but when we firstly got to the gate to get ours, LMA people said they were tired, and besides the tickets finished,” she allegedly noted.
She further complained, “the process is too hard, the people are collecting money from different people, and it’s not easy so we will be hanging here until the government is ready for the road project then they will push us away but for now we don’t have anywhere else to sell”
However, the Liberia Marketers Association President Madam Elizabeth Sambolah, has denied the allegation, stressing that marketers were obligated to pay 500 LRD for subscription and additional 1,000 LD which they jointly agreed upon, inorder to ensure that some technical work is done at the market.
“I’m not aware of that, the subscription for the table is $500 LRD, and they want the place to be fence because the warehouses are not enough, so they decided to fence the place so we all went in the meeting and they said that they will pay 1,000 LRD and that’s all I know of,” LMA Boss responded.
Madam Sambolah further noted, ” If somebody is taking money from them, I’m not aware, it’s an allegation, and we stand by to be proven because most of the marketers they are the problem for us”.
As all the cement/modern tables within the market have been occupied, the LMA have now introduced the mini plank tables, that are reportedly being prepared by them, and sold to marketers at 150 USD, 75 USD, or 15,000 LRD which is the equivalent of 75 USD in Liberian dollars at a rate of 150.
The marketers however blamed the LMA for its action of surplus cost for table, while not considering the different businesses the marketers are doing, which they believe have resulted to a modern but disorganized market facility.
“Now the entire market is not arrange, because they were giving tickets for high money, not questioning people about the kinds of business they are selling, all they know is that they want money, you should give money”. She frustratedly explained
However, the aggrieved marketers have expressed willingness in leaving the street and returning to the main building if their concerns are addressed, and the availability of spot is ensured and provided.
Duala Market is one of the densely populated commercial sites in Liberia, which holds commodities in different kinds, and is noted for it’s intense traffic congestion.
Duala is also a residential area, situated in Bushrod Island, District 16, Montserrado County, Liberia, which marketers had long desired a bigger and better market facility for years.
The newly modern dedicated Duala Market, is a multi-million-dollar market complex which is a joint project of the Governments of Liberia and Japan.