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Sierra Leone News: Sunday shopping off to a slow start

Traders at both the Kroo Town Road and Congo markets hiked prices as a result of the low turnout of colleague traders during the first day of renewed Sunday shopping. The markets were not busy as customers and traders get used to the convenience of Sunday shopping and the economic benefits of doing business on Sundays.
Soon after President Bio was sworn in, he announced the reintroduction of national cleaning days and Sunday trading and shopping. The Sunday markets are not compulsory but available to those who want to do business.
Marie Konjoh lives in the Brookfield’s community. She said, “I am totally against the Sunday trading. Sunday is a day of rest with the family to enjoy peace and tranquility. I think Government should revisit the idea in consultation with the Freetown City Council.”
Adama Sesay sells vegetables including imported potatoes, which noramally sells for 5 for Le10,000. She was selling potatoes for 3 for Le10,000 on Sunday. She came to the market to make some money to pay her sons school fees. “I have been used to the Sunday ban because it gave me room to attend to other domestic duties as well as family affairs and to also rest. But now the ban has been lifted I will only sell for three hours on Sunday’s, then go home.”
Mariatu Sankoh sells fresh fish during the week but says that if the fish does not sell by Saturday she has to pay to get it smoked so it will not go bad. “Now that Sunday trade is here again I will have time to sell my fish.”
Both traders confessed to increasing the prices of their goods on Sunday and trying to take advantage of the low number of traders and limited selection of produce.
The absence of Freetown City Council tax ticket sellers was a welcome relief to the traders. FCC tax collectors roam the markets collecting taxes from the small-time traders. There were no tax collectors at the markets on Sunday.
A passerby along the Kroo Town Road market said, “With time, people will get used to the Sunday market and start to enjoy what we had before – convenience for shoppers who are too busy during the week to shop and for traders who want to make more money from their businesses.”
Kroo Town Road market is located in the central part of the city, while Congo market is found at Brookfield’s community, in the western part of Freetown, and these two markets are Freetown’s oldest markets, built in the 18th century.
By Ade Campbell
Tuesday April 17, 2018.

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