A new market house for the Central Ward was opened for use this week to cater for residents wanting to sell for an income.
The market house was funded by the Port Vila Municipal Council (PVMC) as part of its project launched last year to build markets in all five ward councils.
This is the second market to be built after the first one at Anamburu Ward.
PVMC plans to build the next one for Freswota/Tassiriki Ward at Korman to support the Pacific Mini Games scheduled at end of this year.
Northern Ward will also have its own market after Freswota/Tassiriki Ward.
PVMC is allocating funds for the construction of the markets from its out-contracted market unit.
According to the Manager of the Port Vila Market House, Theophile Massing, the market unit provided the council with a dividend of Vt20 million last year and is expecting to make Vt34 million this year.
The cost of the newly launched market at Seaside is about Vt10 million compared to Anamburu’s market which is around Vt4 million.
The Central Ward market will accommodate the office for ward secretaries and the office of the manager of the Port Vila Market House.
Massing’s office has been relocated there from the main market in town due to limited space.
Through this project, the council wants to ‘free up’ the main market; reduce overcrowding and give more space for customers when visiting, said the Mayor of the Port Vila City, Ulrich Sumptoh.
The main market has become too small to accommodate the high number of vendors, he said.
“Vendors are fighting over tables at the main market. There is not enough space for vendors to sell and customers to walk around.
“The project is an opportunity for vendors to find other options.
“The markets will be open to residents wanting to sell greens, cooked food as well as mothers involved in ‘twenty-vatu’,” he said referring to foodstalls that dotted the sides of the road in areas like Freshwota and Ohlen.
In his address Mayor Ulrich declared plans for creating inter-island trade once the market project is complete.
He explained that the council will allocate funds, say around Vt1 million, to each provinces to pay ‘aelan kakai’ or produce from gardens from farmers and send them to Port Vila to sell at the market.
The community chief representative applauded the council for ensuring that residents, particularly women are able to access market at their doorsteps.
Mayor Sumptoh responded that the establishment of the markets are some achievements of the council which he leads.
Construction of the market at Korman should be completed by July following negotiations with the ministry of lands for available space.