-For Smooth Working Relationship
By Reuben Sei Waylaun
As part of effort ensure smooth working relationship between petty traders and the municipal government of Monrovia to keep the city clean and green at all times, the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Federation of Petty Traders and the Informal Workers’ Union of Liberia (FEPTIWUL).
The MOU will among others things ensure that petty traders are restricted to certain areas in the city when making their business transactions, train 25 FEPTIWUL in solid wastes management, train astute members of the organization to work as taskforce along with the MCC police in keeping the city clean.
Giving the overview of the MOU, Franco Grimes, the Chief of Office Staff in the office of Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Tamba Koijee said since his ascendancy to the post as City Mayor of Monrovia, Mayor Koijee has always been concern about the plights of petty traders in the city.
Mr. Grimes said with such concern, Mayor Koijee decided to meticulously approach the issues confronting the petty traders by meeting them to document their issues, recommending to him what’s the way forward in alleviating their plights among others.
The COS recounted that it will be the first time in the country for a city government to form a joint taskforce with petty traders’ union to help keep Monrovia clean and green.
The first phase of the MOU will last for three months. Within the three months period, Mr. Grimes said the officials of FEPTIWUL will be provided an office space to register their members from October 15 to December 15, 2018. According to the city ordinance of Monrovia, every petty trader needs to register US$20.00 before selling, but Mr. Grimes said the FEPTIWUL will take US$10.00 and give the city government US$10.00, but warned that accountability must be on top of everything they do.
He also said beginning November 1, 2018, only scratch card sellers, money exchangers, electronic material sellers, boutique operators will be allowed to sell on Broad street and will be a maiden part for three months before moving into other areas beginning December 31, 2018.
“We all have to be committed to the MOU. The president has given his fullest cooperation to this process and willing to respect the rights of petty traders. He is waiting to see how this will be successful.
“When this government came to power, there were public outcry that the city of Monrovia should be cleared and clean because street sellers were dirtying the streets all the time. Arriving at this MOU was tough, but we must be committed to what we all have agreed on,” Mr. Grimes said.
For her part, the Chairperson of the Federation of Petty Traders and the Informal Workers’ Union of Liberia (FEPTIWUL), Madam Comfort Doryen disclosed that the MOU was not done in isolation, saying it was the overwhelming endorsement of petty traders after months of giving their collective imports.
Established 2009, FEPTIWUL seeks to represent the informal sector and ensure the welfare of its members are respected at all times.
Speaking with the backing of her members and officials who had trooped in their numbers in the Ball Room of the Monrovia City Hall where the signing ceremony was held, Madam Doryen recounted that it has been difficult in the past to have such comprehensive MOU with the full backing of petty traders and the city government.
She said it took the ‘wise Jefferson T. Koijee’ willingness to work with petty traders that made the MOU a success.
“I hope petty traders will respect this because it took us time to do this MOU. We didn’t go through this MOU in the absence of petty traders. Everyone was given the MOU through a flyer to go through it and we must do our best to respect the MOU or else we have ourselves to blame. The Mayor has done his best for us,” she said.
At the same time, Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Tamba Koijee has commended marketers in the country for been the strongest partners in the developmental drive and economy recovery of the state under the George Weah led administration.
According to Mayor Koijee, his commitment to the petty traders is not 90 minutes, but a continuous process that will ensure serious sustainability, saying “I walked in the streets creating awareness to solve the biggest issues confronting you people.”
“We want to restore your dignity because you are contributing to the economy of this country. We have come to work along with you because you are the movers and shakers of the country. Today marks a great beginning for all of us.
“When we started people said this won’t work because Mayor Broh and others worked and didn’t succeed and I said to them I always start a difficult journey and I know we will succeed together. We are thinking about you and we want you united,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mayor Koijee has announced that individuals violating the MOU will be dealt with and not the entire organization. He also pledged his unflinching supports to the FEPTIWUL to ensure it succeeds.
“Those caught violating will be singled out. We will produce the ID cards for the organization because we have one of the best systems here. You are our employers and we are your employees, we will ensure nobody misrepresents you because we want every sector of the city institutionalized even when I am not here you will still function well,” he concluded.