The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs is informing the entire public and all marketers that it has begun the relocation of marketers of the old Ma Juah Market in Vai Town.
The market is being relocated in the old Liberia Tractor Company (LIBTRACO) building opposite the Georgia Pattern United Methodist Church on Water Street, UN Drive.
According to an Executive Mansion statement, the new site has been refurbished to include everything expected of all modern markets that were previously lacking at the old Ma Juah Market in Vai Town. The new location will be dedicated later this week.
The previously occupied premises will undergo a massive demolition exercise beginning tomorrow, the statement said.
Meanwhile, all marketers who have not relocated to the new facilities at the old LIBTRACO building are asked to do so with immediate effect to avoid any hindrance to the exercise.
Upon hearing of this development yesterday, our Business and Economy Desk conducted an interview with some marketers at the Ma Juah Market and this is what they told the Daily Observer:
“We are disappointed over the process as well as the environment designated for the relocation. Already we are about 600 to 700 marketers occupying the vicinity given them temporarily in the Vai Town area, but the old LIBTRACO Building being processed for them can house only between 200- 250 marketers.” The marketers also complained of a “poor drainage system” in the new marketplace.
Besides the drains being small, the marketers said that during heavy downpour of rain, people have to wear boots to enter the new premises. It is also no secret that during prolonged rainfall, the river overflows and runs through pipes that are connected to the building, thereby causing serious flooding and chaos.
Mr. Bai S. Won-kulah, supervisor of the Ma Juah Market, who spoke to our Business Desk, said they are not against the development, even though a relocation process carries its own pains, losses and benefits. But if the process must be welcomed by the beneficiaries, somewhere better should be set aside, not that place –the old LIBTRACO Building—because the relocation has its own negative impact on business people.
According to him, the gathering of marketers in the Vai Town vicinity is a long story which began initially on an Easter Sunday in 2006, when their market tables were broken down by the police under the directive of Madam Munah Sieh-Brown, then Police Director.
The market supervisor said the current space used at Ma-Juah Market now was a space used by truckers and also a parking lot for vehicles transporting people to Maryland and Sinoe Counties. Upon negotiations made by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, They were told that the venue would be used as a temporary market site.
Being aware of the decision to allow them to use that space temporarily, said Mr. Won-kulah, it was difficult for the market administrators to carry out any major improvements.
Since 2006, he added, it was on August 19, 2014 that he received a call to appear at the Executive Mansion for a meeting with the President and that meeting was attended by the Minister of Gender and Development and the Liberia Marketing Association president. In that meeting, the President informed him that it was about time that the marketers leave the Vai Town location since there was an outbreak of the Ebola virus in the country with Monrovia being the epicenter.
“I appealed to her to let the Ebola outbreak subside before finalizing her decision, taking into consideration that the majority of the marketers have taken loans from Access Bank and every loan has a timeframe attached for its repayment. I pleaded with her not to make the pronouncement soon so that it did not cause us more frustration,” he said.