Vendors selling their local produce at the main market are likely to stop sale today, if the Port Vila Municipal Council (PVMC) do not heed their demands.
The Daily Post was told that the vendors have threatened to go on strike, in protest against the annual Vt10,000 permit to be imposed by the council this year.The new permit will see an increase of Vt2,000.
Increasing the permit fee is a part of the new changes the council plans to introduce to meet market services and improve facilities.
Located in town, Port Vila’s main market accommodates vendors cooking food, selling greens (fruits and vegetables) and handicrafts.
All vendors must pay Vt450 for space at the market every day.
Vendors in the restaurant and handicraft section have been paying an annual market permit of Vt8,500 in the past years, excluding those selling greens.
Meeting the charge gives them the right to occupy an area, where they can sell in for a year.
Vendors selling greens were exempted from paying permit because they do sell every day throughout the year. They go to the market once in a while and then lost tables to another vendor when their products are sold out.
These vendors selling greens plays a vital role in feeding the city.
They have been consulted about the new permit fee and many of them have agreed to until recently when they were allegedly threatened to stop selling, the local media was told.
The Daily Post was told that the same threats were made, to stop sales at the other markets within the municipality such as Freswota and Anamburu Market.
The Port Vila’s main market is owned and regulated by the municipal council, which means that the council is responsible to control retailing and supervise all activities happening at the market. It includes finding ways to look after sellers and establishing rules of conduct.
Part of the new change aims to support initiatives to improve the public market in town for aesthetic reasons, believing that an attractive market contributes to the city’s national and international image.
Observations has shown that majority of the vendors selling greens are the same ones turning up every month of the year.
Imposing permit will allow these vendors to be registered and occupy a designated market space where the tables be labelled their names and they will do own cleaning like those in the cooking section all year round.
Meanwhile, the Manager of the Port Vila Market, Theophile Massing, told Daily Post yesterday afternoon that “the issue has gone out of their hands and the higher authorities are dealing it .
“Hopefully, everything should go back to normal before the end of this week”, he added.