By: Foday Manneh
Fish and meat vendors in Basse say no area was provided for them to do business in the multi-million Dalasis new Basse Market.
They feel marginalized by the relevant authorities and express their frustration.
TaKebba Suwaneh, a meat vendor, in an interview with The Alkamba Times (TAT), said it is disappointing to be left out.
“Imagine, I came to the market as a young meat vendor with my father from 1998 until he died in 2004, and I have been doing that business to this day.
“We are renting stalls on people’s premises and paying high rent. Sometimes we do not sell all the meat and lack cold storage facilities to keep the product. We are very much disappointed,” he said.
Suwaneh also raised health concerns over how they sell meat and said the relevant government authorities must come to see their condition.
“We sell on the streets where there are no proper safeguards, as dogs and cats will come to our stalls to lick our working materials when we close work. That is not hygienic at all.”
Another meat seller, Saikou Sawaneh, complained about how the new market was designed, saying that it is not favorable and that, as a result, business for most vendors is sluggish.
“We paid an application fee of D500 each to the Basse Area Council, and we were promised stalls, but at the end of the day, we are selling on the streets. They never refunded our money nor gave us a stall.”
A fish vendor, Jainaba Camara, said she lost more than D30,000 to the market inferno in 2020. She is now left struggling to recover and without a place to restart her business.
During the official handing over of the project to the contractor in 2020, the authorities said the new market will have an area for meat and fish sellers, among others.
TAT contacted Lamin Njie, communication officer at the Ministry of infrastructure, who asked us to talk to the Governor in the Upper River Region. Governor Samba Bah, in turn, told TAT to contact Basse Area Council.
When contacted, the spokesperson of the council, Omar Drammeh, said it was not in the plan to create meat and fish stalls in the new market.
He said that required constructing a proper drainage system, which was not in the project document.