2023-2024 National Budget | Association not happy with ‘rich’ vendors

Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Professor Biman Prasad speaks to the market vendors during the budget consultation in Lautoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

Vendors are hoping the Government will remove “rich” businessmen who operate stalls at the Lautoka Municipal Market in the 2023-2024 National Budget.

Lautoka Market Vendors Association president Filomena O’Neil said they were disappointed that business owners were allowed to operate in the market.

“The association is not very happy with these millionaires that are sitting in the market,” she said.

“The main reason is because they own a lot of stalls and we have people in the informal sectors that are really in need that should be given the opportunity to earn for their daily living.

“We are requesting that if they cannot be removed then there should be a policy enacted by the council, and of course the bylaws of the market, to give the council the powers for them to be removed. “These millionaires have businesses running outside of the market.

“They have rental cars, they have shops in other towns so there needs to be an assessment done on the market vendors and to see who should really be here and those who need to move out.

“If the Government cannot remove them, then they should be imposed with taxes if they are earning a certain amount of income.

“That could be another form of revenue for Government.” She added that the informal sector was an area that needed a lot of Government attention.

“We have to bridge that gap that currently exists between the informal and formal sectors.”

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