The Minister of Local Government Hon. Premila Kumar is pleased to announce further assistance to ensure the livelihood of Municipal Market stall holders is sustained amid COVID-19.
Hon. Kumar said from Monday 13th April until 30th June, Municipal Market stall holders will not pay stall fees for their first two stalls.
“If a person has more than two stalls, he or she will receive a stall fee waiver for the first two stalls and then pay the appropriate fee for each subsequent stall. If they have more than two stalls but cannot pay the fees for the rest of the stalls, we encourage them to surrender the stalls to reduce the operating costs,” said Hon. Kumar.
The Minister added that other vendors will be able to apply for these stalls. This will allow more Fijians to have the opportunity to sell their produce and make an income from Municipal markets across Fiji.
This measure has been undertaken to respond to the ongoing struggle of maintaining family livelihoods in these uncertain times.
The Minister stated that in any one week, there are more than 5,000 stalls operated in Municipal Markets across Fiji and this waiver will make a positive impact to the lives of many Fijians and their families.
“Suva’s main market alone has 677 stalls; Lautoka 963, Labasa 865 and Nausori can have up to 748 stalls operating on a weekend. Stall fees across the country range from $0.75/day for vegetables to $3.85/ day for grog stall.
“The Ministry of Local Government will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on Municipal Market operations. It has already ensured the safety of all citizens by taking necessary steps to change market practice during this time,” said the Minister.
Hon. Kumar also added that it is imperative that market stall holders and customers observe physical distancing while queueing and shopping. Stalls are spaced further apart; public awareness announcements are regularly made over sound systems; marked lines on the ground spread customers and constant monitoring is ensuring overcrowding does not occur.
Further, Councils have now decentralised markets across their neighbourhoods. Small markets are now located at strategic neighbourhood locations to prevent overcrowding by consumers. People are able to shop at a market closer to home and reduce unnecessary movement into central places. These are all practical and positive initiatives which will make a big difference to our common fight against COVID-19.
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