Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson T. Koijee vows here to restore the dignity of street peddlers in Monrovia, and its surroundings.Mayor Koijee says the role of street vendors in the country cannot be overemphasized, noting “you people are of great help to this country by contributing hugely to the national economy.”
Speaking Thursday, 27 September at the Monrovia City Hall in 1st Street, Monrovia at the program marking the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) and the Federation of Petty Traders, and Informal Union of Liberia or FEPTIWUL.
“We will restore your dignity and values as petty traders, not only because you’re roaming the streets, but because you are movers and shakers of the economy” he tells vendors here.According to Mayor Koijee, the MOU between the MCC and the FEPTIWUL is something that will improve the wellbeing of the petty traders and give them a facelift in their own country.
“We know in past how people fight to achieve this, past Mayors took the stance but did not succeed, but we want to assure you that this MOU will mark a new beginning for some of you who are selling in the streets.”
At the same time Mayor Koijee challenges petty traders to put Liberia first above all interest, stressing “if we must succeed as a country then we must put this country’s interest first above anything else.”
Giving an overview of the MOU, the chief of staff in the Office of Mayor Koijee, Franco Grimes says the discussion that led to signing the MOU started in April with series of workshops, meetings so much so that both parties disagreed on some issues that were not in their interest.
“But today, I’m glad that we were able to finalize those discussions with this MOU signing.” He says this is not the first time the MCC has reached a MOU with street peddlers, but the first time for the hawkers and the City Corporation to form a joint task force.
The taskforce is intended to protect interest of the street sellers whenever they come in conflict with the Liberia National Police or and the Monrovia City Police.Meanwhile, the MOU also speaks of establishing a sanitation team for the first time with petty traders, saying “you will give the names to MCC, our work is to just train them thru our waste management team; after the completion of the training before the MCC will begin the implementation process.
Also speaking at the signing ceremony, the chair of the FEPTIWUL Mrs. Comfort Doryen recalls the National Petty Traders Union of Liberia was founded in 2009, thru the able leadership of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the former President of the Republic of Ireland, Madam Mary Robertson.
She says the objective is to organize and represent the informal sector, and to further work in making sure their rights and welfare are recognized.Madam Doryen notes the process started with former Mayor Mary T. Broh in 2016, noting that the MOU enabled them to organize their vendors properly in the streets, and three feet on the sidewall to give pedestrians enough space to move about.
She applauds Mayor Koijee for his tireless efforts in making sure their plights are listened to, saying “We petty traders want to express thanks to you for allowing us to reach this far.”
B y Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne