NATION

Nakasi Roadside Vendors Slowly Moving To Markets

Fourteen roadside vendors from Nakasi who were instructed to relocate to municipal council markets last week have registered for space at the Laqere and Nausori markets. A total of 70
20 Jan 2021 13:00
Nakasi Roadside Vendors Slowly Moving To Markets
Nakasi vendors Makelesi Ragolea (left) and Seniloli Valesu at the Laqere Market on January 19, 2021, after they were told to move from their original location in Nakasi last week. Photo: Leon Lord

Fourteen roadside vendors from Nakasi who were instructed to relocate to municipal council markets last week have registered for space at the Laqere and Nausori markets.

A total of 70 vendors under the Nakasi Vendors Association were told by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to move to the markets for their safety.

Minister for Local Government Premila Kumar confirmed that the vendors were slowly moving into the markets.

She said most of the municipal council markets are empty and they had empty stalls.

But some vendors prefer to sell on the roadside because they do not want competition from other vendors.

Ms Kumar said various vendor associations had written to her threatening to move their produce to the roadside because customers were not buying from the markets.

On the issue of Namaka Market, she said there were 30 empty stalls in the market, but people were still selling in front of the supermarkets, which prompted the market vendors to threaten not to pay stall fees.

A similar incident happened in Tavua which led the Tavua Market Vendors Association to extend the market opening hours to 7pm.

“We have to create a fair system. We cannot just favour illegal roadside vendors and not consider the plight of legal vendors inside the markets,” Ms Kumar said.

“We are not denying anyone their livelihood. Our golden rule is if we remove someone from the roadside we will provide a legal space elsewhere.”

Vendor Seniloli Valesu, 45, who has been selling in Nakasi for 14 years said she moved to Laqere market last Thursday after the directive came from the Prime Minister. Since she relocated to the market, sales had been slow.

“Previously when I was a vendor in Nakasi our earnings would go up to $200 a day. When I relocated to Laqere market on Thursday I made only $17 in sales and the next day only $25,” Ms Valesu said.

“When we went home a group of us decided to walk to Nakasi where we all contributed to pay for a taxi to Wainibuku where we live.”

Her concern is that her business will not be profitable as her husband is a farmer and they have five children to look after, four of whom are still in school.

Ms Valesu said some former vendors from Nakasi had resorted to selling their produce door to door to make ends meet.

Makelesi Ragolea who also moved to Laqere Market shared similar sentiments about the drastic decrease in income.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj


Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.


By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.




Five Squares Mad March


Fijisun E-edition
Total
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper