Traders Stranded As Mayor Insists On Relocation

This article was last updated on May 26, 2022

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Mayor Stephen Osfaldo Lobali has insisted that all the vegetable vendors must leave for the new market.

Several shops including beauty salons groceries, petty restaurants at Hai Batari have been ordered to move to the newly set up Torit Model Market but resistance has been witnessed as the business operators silently protested over the decision by the government saying they cannot just move as they are not prepared to stock their goods.

Some say they have already rented out the present premises to stock their goods until January 2014 while others paid their rental fees up to December and will now lose their business and money.

Speaking to Gurtong along the old Market corridors, the protesters recommended that the government should have notified them four or six months ahead to January 2014, so to allow them prepare.

Some of the traders have also complained that they have no security to protect their bulk goods in the new Market, therefore a need to more police to be deployed to the market.

Gurtong witnessed presences of the Police forces who have been deployed to the affected section to command the traders not to reopen the closed businesses or shops.

Last week, Omoliha Market vendors stormed Torit Municipal Council Mayor’s Office demanding that the mayor should buy all their commodities as part of compensation due to absence of customers at the new Model market where they have been relocated to.

Carrying with them their wide-ranging vegetable goods up to the office of the Mayor, the group also demanded the Mayor to provide ready shops at the newly built Market in order to enable them simultaneously lodge and put up their goods for sale.

Despite the Order, the group also insisted that the distance to the new market, Torit Model Market, is extremely far from human settlements and is equally isolated without reliable customers to buy their products.

The relocation of the Vegetable Vendors, Butcheries and Groceries from Omoliha Market to Torit Model Market took effect from 1st November, 2013 and should have been completed within seven days, according to the standing order.

The market was constructed by the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), through the UN Development Programme (UNDP), with support from South Sudan Recovery Fund (SSRF) through donation from a Multi-Donor Trust Fund, and was officially opened in November 2011.

The governments of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Norway provided contributions to the SSRF.

The new market serves as a “model” for constructing marketplaces, with set infrastructure standards.

The market is equipped with separate blocks for vegetables, fish and meat, and has accessible storage facilities for surplus goods.

It is enclosed in concrete perimeter fence; the market has its own elevated water tank, a borehole and a pump, as well as separate blocks for wash areas and toilets.

The model market and the road equipment were part of a US$ 2.6 million livelihoods project intended to address the lack of market infrastructure, increase crop productivity and facilitate commercial development in Eastern Equatoria.

The state is one of the three ‘Greenbelt States’ in South Sudan which the government is developing as the country’s food basket, by boosting its commercial agricultural production.

Currently, South Sudan is dependent on basic commodity imports from neighbouring countries.

The facility would strengthen local trade and commerce, enhance the market infrastructure and build the capacity of small producers and traders, with a particular focus on women.

Further, food storage facilities were built to ensure surplus goods are safely kept for selling on the next market day.

Six storage facilities were constructed in Magwi, Lafon and Budi counties with the Management and upkeep of these facilities being turned over to the women groups.

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