Plight of Traders at Sewa Grounds!
Popularly known as Victoria Park, traders and business people at the Sewa Ground market stalls have called on the attention of Government to come to their rescue and ameliorate their plight especially in the wake of torrential rains.
Even though a modern building had almost been completed since 2018, the business community at Sewa Grounds have been prohibited from occupying the new structure, while they continue to languish in the open and exposed to thieves and health hazards; and their tables providing perfect bedding for prostitution to thrive at night.
Despite their deplorable conditions, the traders have been very compliant with the tax regimes of both the City Council and the National Revenue Authority in addition to numerous other official costs they are obliged to meet for doing business.
It is important to note that these people are not merely Sierra Leoneans, but have families to look after. Therefore, depriving them of an enabling environment to do business would adversely affect their ability to put bread and butter on the table and threaten the livelihood of their family members.
A painful irony is the fact that their counter-part foreign businessmen are well positioned in secured and comfortable business premises doing business conveniently, while they the indigenes, are clustered in haphazard make-shift structures packed like sardines in squalid conditions with no toilets and water; a glaring defeat of the object and purpose of the Local Content rhetoric.
We view this ugly state of affairs of the local traders at Victoria Park with the highest level of indignation and strongly urge government to immediately find a way out for remedial action to restore the eroded dignity of our people.
We are aware that the new building is under probe for corruption allegations; but we believe that allowing the innocent traders who are in no way connected to the award of the so-called dubious contract to occupy the stalls will stop the investigation from proceeding and bringing the culprits to book. If not yet fully completed it may be said, we are inclined to question the rationale behind the undue delay to do so in record time. “Give the devil his due”, let not political considerations take the better part of fair dealing.
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