NEWS

New Market, New Experience

Overcrowding and uncomfortable spacing at the Labasa Market is no longer a problem. The group that is most excited about the extension is none other than the Labasa Market Association.
14 Jan 2016 10:41
New Market, New Experience
PM at Labasa Market during the opening yesterday. PHOTO:PENI DRAUNA

Overcrowding and uncomfortable spacing at the Labasa Market is no longer a problem.

The group that is most excited about the extension is none other than the Labasa Market Association.

At the Northern town yesterday, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, made it official by opening the new market extension.

Mr Bainimarama said: “We have solved the problem of overcrowding and uncomfortable spacing. Selling will be more comfortable and secure, and vendors can be more confident about leaving their produce and goods unattended even overnight.”

The new extension has 110 vegetable stall spaces, 50 handicraft stalls, 20 sleeping spaces for women, and a training centre for 25 persons.

The PM said the event marked a new experience and new way of doing business for vendors at the Labasa Market.

The project cost $688,000, with $500,000 funded by the Government and the balance by the Labasa Town Council.

He also commended the United Nations Women who saw the economic and social value of the women in Vanua Levu and reimbursed the Council 50 per cent of the project cost.

“At last, we have a facility that provides a modern and orderly place for the people to conduct their most basic business, buying and selling the necessities of life,” the PM said.

“A market is far more than a place of buying and selling. A market is the centre of the community, a place where we meet neighbours and share news, a place that reinforces our beautiful Fijian culture every day through the foods we grow and eat and the things we make with our hands. It is a place where rural dwellers and urban dwellers come together.”

Special Administrator of Labasa and Savusavu Vijay Chand, during his briefing, told Mr Bainimarama the municipal market was an area that contributed immensely to the growth of the town.

“Dedicated long hours, tiring commitment in terms of finance and sacrifice of being away from families is all paying off dividends today as we invite you to handover the vendors with new facilities in Labasa including a descent sleep over dormitory and the handicraft centre,” Mr Chand said.

“Our priority would also be the safety and security of women vendors and we have already made some changes to see that women are safe and secured,” he added.

Meanwhile, Laisani Siliva, on behalf of the Labasa Market Association and vendors, thanked Mr Bainimarama for coming to Labasa himself and opening the market extension.

“Most of the vendors are women and we spend more than 10 hours in the market and it is like a home to us,” Ms Siliva said.

“I am very thankful to this Government, United Nations Women, Labasa Town Council and all those who worked to put this project together.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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