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Lockdown: Marketers, Consumers Feeling the Pinch of Travel Restrictions

Tubmanburg, Bomi County – Several market women in Bomi County have frowned on the government’s decision to close down all weekly markets by restricting the movement of people from one county to another.

The market women believe that closing down the markets without providing an alternative means for traders to buy and sell basic food commodities has resulted into the shortage of essential goods on local markets in the county.

Madam Hawa Sheriff, the market Superintendent, told LocalVoicesLiberia that if the situation continues as it is, many marketers will go out of business.

“The way the government has closed the market day and nobody should move from one county to the other it is hard for us,” lamented Superintendent Sheriff.

“It is during the market day we can buy our market and sell it. If this one continues like this we will go out of business and some people will eat their market money.”

During weekly market days, traders from Monrovia meet with buyers in the county who in return sell farm produce and other locally made products. With the imposition of the travel restriction among counties, traders from Monrovia are barred from travelling to other parts of the country.

And madam Sheriff suggests that government should allow trading during weekly markets but with the full practice of social distancing.

“For the market days, if the government can make people to stand one-one and far away from one another that will be fine,” she said, cautioning that closing all market across the county would leave behind grave economic consequence for local marketers who rely on weekly sales to keep their business afloat.

The Superintendent added: “I am making sure that everyone wash their hands, even those who are not selling during general market days.”

“It is during the market day we can buy our market and sell it. If this one continues like this we will go out of business and some people will eat their market money.”  Hawa Sheriff, Bomi County Market Superintendent

Adama Robinson, Bomi County Superintendent, recently assured the county’s business community that his office was making arrangement for traders to travel freely to Monrovia to buy goods without inconvenience.

Superintendent Robinson’s assurance came after President George Weah declared the State of Emergency restricting the movements of people from one county to another with the exception of Montserrado and Margibi Counties that are considered a single unit under quarantine.

Despite the promise to marketers, Mr. Robinson is yet to ensure commodities are moved from Montserrado County into the county.

This is causing consumers in Tubmanburg to begin complaining that the absence of major food commodities on the market is becoming worrisome.

Some have expressed fear that essential food items such as rice, fish and many others are now disappearing from the local markets.

According to some people, business people are taking advantage of the situation by hiking prices thereby depriving the underprivileged from getting access to food.

Fatu Tamba, a resident of Tubmanburg, said: “I can go to buy something from market such as rice and fish but I don’t get what I want sometimes.”

Another woman, Benetta Flomo, a resident of of Vai Town #2 Community in Tubmanburg, also expressed frustration about the prevailing situation.

“In the big market we do not get fresh fish to buy because there is no way for people to go to Monrovia to buy. Since this quarantine started, it is difficult for us to get fish to buy and if you see it, it very expensive,” she said.

 

 

 

 

 

Sesay is a broadcast journalist based in Tubmanburg, Bomi County (Western Liberia). He works for Pumah Communications Incorporated as news editor. He is also the secretary of Local Voices Liberia Media Network. Sesay reports on a wide range of issues including maternal health, humanitarian issues, land rights, illicit mining and politics. Sesay holds a bachelor degree in Political Science and Education. He has also received several certificates in human rights, health, and development reporting from both local and international media development organizations.

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