Liberia: Market Women in Kakata Protest over Delay of Completion of Market Renovation
KAKATA, Margibi County – Marketeers in Kakata, Margibi County on Monday furiously protested over the long-delayed in the completion of the renovation of the Kakata Market by the Ministry of Agriculture under its Smallholder Agriculture Productivities and Commercialization Project (SAPEC).
Report by Yawah Y. Jaivey, Contributor
The market renovation cost at US$290,749.18 is being funded by the African Development Bank (AFDB) and implemented by the Bong Infrastructure Limited construction company.
The renovation work got underway on May 15, 2019 with duration of 10 months but has since delayed, thus triggering the marketers’ protest in demand for the immediate opening of the market despite being incomplete.
The hundreds of marketeers predominantly women on Monday protested for the second time at the offices’ of the Margibi County administration in demand of a respond from Superintendent Jerry O. Varnie on their October 12 dispatch presented to the authority to have the Kakata’s market open on or before October 19, 2020.
“Permit us to bring to your attention some unfolding developments surrounding the Kakata General Market; as you may be aware, the African Development Bank through SAPEC Project under the Agriculture Ministry started a total renovation of the market on May 15, 2019. We were told that this project would had lasted for 10 months, but to our greatest dismay, we have gone more than a year now leaving our marketers to sell in a very serious deplorable conditions,” the marketeers complained
The marketeers led by the local leadership of the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA) in Kakata asserted that the renovation caused them to relocate to unfit environment, a situation they said put most of them out of business and others felt ill due to the rain they had been constrained to sit under to trade.
Continuing, the enraged marketeers stated in their letter: “The Marketeers have unanimously agreed to unofficially open the market on or before October 19, 2020, since there is no sing or hope of dedicating the project that is yet to reach 65% completion”.
Responding to the protesting marketeers’ demand, Margibi County Superintendent Jerry O. Vernie firstly quiet the protest and implored the angry marketeers to endurance restraint as his office was making frantic effort with the Ministries of Agriculture and Internal Affairs to have the renovation work completed in the shortest time.
He requested the marketeers to grant this office the period of one week, adding that within the space of that one week, a positive update surrounding the long-delayed in the completion of the renovation of the Kakata Market will be made known to them.
When contacted by FrontPageAfrica, the Site Manager of the Bong Infrastructure Limited construction company, Reuben Blackie, admitted to marketeers’ claim of the long-delayed of the project, but attributed such delay to the broken of tie between Afriland Bank-Liberia and a corresponding Cameroonian bank that the African Development Bank (AFDB) used to remit funding through to Afriland Bank-Liberia.
Blackie, however, debunked the Kakata’s marketers’ allegation that the renovation work is yet to reach 65% completion, noting that the project was at 85% and could be completed before the end of November 2020.