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Sierra Leone News: FCC oust traders and promise to construct seven more markets

Street trading in Freetown under attack

A few weeks ago, the Freetown City Council placed a trading ban on 17 streets in Freetown, prohibiting traders from selling along Bathurst Street, Liverpool Street, Wellington Street, Syke Street, George Street and Siaka Stevens Street. The ban has left traders furious. Along with “Operation Push Back” implemented by Mayor Yvonne Aki- Sawyerr, the traders feel attacked and defenceless. The Mayor has disclosed that there are plans for the FCC to construct seven new markets across the city. During her visit to traders along Sithorpe Street where street traders have gathered, the Mayor said, “Sithorpe Street is one of the streets in mind for a new market.” She thanked the traders for their compliance, noting that Council will ensure that they are protected and have a venue to do their various businesses. A trader at the Sithorpe Street, Aminata Bangura, noted, “We are not against what the Mayor is doing but all we want is a convenient atmosphere to do our business.” She stressed that she is the breadwinner of her family. Her husband has been out of job for the past two years now. Alpha Kamara said it is the duty of Council to ensure that the city is clean and well structured, adding that the traders have their role to play in order to beautify the city. He furthered their own role is to abide by the Council rules and regulations and also pay their necessary dues to the Council, so that the Council can generate enough revenue. Another trader, Isatu Koroma, said, “We have been paying our dues all these years as traders and the Council is not performing according to expectations.” She said a huge amount of money was generated under the tenure of Herbert Williams as Mayor of Freetown.   Many traders complain that the FCC Police harass them, extort money and steal their markets. Traders also complained about paying daily taxes to do their business and now they are restricted. Mabinty Koroma said, “We are tax paying, law abiding and patriotic citizens trying to make a living and develop this economy. The Council should have nothing to do with us.”

MJB/11/9/18

By Mohamed J. Bah

Wednesday September 12, 2018.

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