Vendors at the municipal council markets will soon be able to use council toilet facilities without having to pay. Starting on March 23, any market vendor who pays stall fees
05 Mar 2015 11:00
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum (right), listens to concerns raised by an elderly lady vendor at the Lautoka Market. Photo: Sheetal Prasad

Vendors at the municipal council markets will soon be able to use council toilet facilities without having to pay.

Starting on March 23, any market vendor who pays stall fees will be able to use the toilets free of charge.

The decision was made following consultations between the Attorney-General and Minister for Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, and the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment Parveen Kumar.

This followed an unplanned Lautoka Market visit by the A-G.

As soon as people spotted him they went towards him and shook his hands. They thanked Government for the great work it was doing and gave him their wish-list.

Free use of the toilets was one of the requests from vendors.

The A-G said free use of toilets was another way the FijiFirst Government could assist market vendors.

“Most people – including those who work in offices – have access to free toilet facilities. But until now, vendors who spend full working days at the markets have had no other choice but to pay to use toilets,” he explained.

The A-G said one of the FijiFirst Government’s priorities was to improve the conditions for market vendors in Fiji. He  explained why.

“Municipal markets are at the heart of our towns and cities and market vendors provide a service that all Fijians value and appreciate. This decision complements the huge amount of work we have been doing over the past few years to upgrade Fiji’s markets and to build safe and hygienic conditions for vendors,” he said.

He said that this was also a good example of how the FijiFirst Government “listens to the concerns of ordinary Fijians and takes prompt action to address them.

“When we were at the Lautoka Market today a number of vendors approached us directly to raise this concern,” he said.

“We want to thank them for bringing this issue to our attention and we are happy that we have been able to produce a positive outcome for them.”

The A-G also thanked Mr Kumar for his quick and decisive intervention.

“The Minister took immediate action to address this issue, once again underlining the FijiFirst Government’s principle philosophy – to deliver and to serve,” he said.

Market vendors and shoppers in Lautoka were surprised by the A-G’s presence. What was even more surprising was that he had his jacket off and was perspiring under his long-sleeve blue shirt.

“It was an unplanned visit, in-fact I came to buy some salted fish because Lautoka is well known for the fish I have bought,” the A-G said.

“There were a number of issues raised; some of them had personal issues, family issues, and land in regards to paid or renewed leases,” he said.

“A number of issues have been raised about the market, about vendors paying for the use of the toilet. Other issues pertaining to vendors hassling other vendors and rates that are been paid in the market.”

The lack of ventilation in the market facility was also raised.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said these issues would now be taken up to Mr Kumar.

“There are some dynamics that he (Minister for Local Government) needs to address himself. Lautoka is a growing city so lack of space is also an issue. Issues on education and career related issues were also brought up,” he said.

“A lot of people came along to thank the Government for all the work that has been done pertaining to education.”

After listening to the people, he was able to buy what he originally went to the market for.



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