Serrekunda, THE GAMBIA – As the Islamic feast Eid-al-Adha draws near, people always fill the market in Serrekunda to sell or buy food, clothes and shoes to wear on the day of the feast.
That makes the popular market crowded and difficult to access.
Vendors from Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana and other African countries come to acquire a stall to sell different kinds of materials to people in The Gambia.
Buyers always complain about the high prices on the commodities while sellers blame the local government for the huge tax level on them.
Joof said if the government reduces the tax on the goods, sellers will reduce their prices and will still make their profit.
According to cosmetic shop seller Dawda Joof from Senegal, he accepts the complaints from customers on the rapidly growing prices of materials in the market.
Customer Isatou Jallow agreed with Joof, saying the government should stop putting huge a tax on its citizens needs such food and clothing. She also said the government should build bigger shopping areas to avoid the push and pull in the market on occasions such as Eid and Christmas.
The tax on sellers in the market is an important source of income for the municipal government. Sellers must pay a daily tax in order to continue to do business there.
“People think it is our fault to increase the price but if we do not do that, then our business will be for nothing,” he said.
But, he said, it’s the government to be blamed for the tax on goods brought into the country. If merchants lower their prices, he said, then they will not make any profit in their business.
“Last year I was robbed by a group of young boys and I could not chase them and there were no security personnel to assist me because of the crowded market,” said Jallow, adding that there was nothing she could do. “I went home feeling sad and hopeless.”
People at the crowded Serrekunda market should always be protective of themselves because people from so many places and towns come to buy material there.
Banna Sabally is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.