Marketers and some citizens in Pleebo, Maryland County Electoral district#2, Southeast Liberia laud the Government of Liberia and partners for completion of a modern market in Pleebo Sodoken District. The US$430,424.88 construction was funded by the African Development Bank through the Smallholder Agriculture Productivity Enhancement and Commercialization (SAPEC) project, in partnership with Liberia’s Ministry of Agriculture (MOA).
The contractor, JusMart Engineers, recently turned over the newly constructed facility to local government authorities, making it the biggest business hub ever to be constructed in Maryland County.
Speaking in an recent interview with this paper at the market building in Zone #3 on Thursday, October 15, 2020, marketers said the construction has brought relief to them.
According to them, prior to the project they had been selling in makeshift structures in heavy downpour, but since they moved in the newly constructed market building, the business environment has changed, encouraging more customers to buy their goods.
In May 2019, Maryland County Assistant Superintendent for Development Robin Scott, led an array of local officials, representatives of non-governmental organizations and civil society actors to break ground for the regional commercial hub, which is among several development projects that were earmarked earlier for dedication by President George Manneh Weah in a nationwide tour, but was postponed due to the Corona Virus outbreak in the country.
Mr. Weah was also expected to dedicate phase one of the Harper-Fish Town Road Project (Harper to Karloken 50KM) and the Hardwood (One Two- One Two) junction to the Liberian-Ivorian Pedebo border – a 16Km asphalt paved roads constructed by the China Railway No.5 Engineering Company with funding from the African Development Bank.
The modern market structure contains storage facilities, toilets, play ground for children, running water, offices, including numerous stalls for food crops and dry goods, as well as 52 stores on its second floor. It stands as a central commercial point for the people of Maryland, Grand Kru, River Gee and neighboring Ivory Coast.
A marketer and resident of Pleebo, Martha Weah, disclosed that since the market was completed and turned over for use by local authorities, it has brought total changes in marketers’ lives, because of the facilities inside the building.
Madam Weah [no relationship to President Weah] said though it was very saddened initially when they were told to leave their various selling spots to give way for the project, today, they are happy.
Theresa Toe, another businesswoman, welcomed the modern market building, but called on the government to pave roads leading to the Southeast to create access. She lamented that transportation difficulty due to bad roads in the region is worrisome and needs to be addressed.
Madam Toe disclosed that she spent about 25,000 Liberian Dollars on transportation from Maryland County to Monrovia to get goods, but sometimes these goods perished while enroute due to the road condition.
“Let me say thanks to President Weah, for being good to us; we pray that God will continue to bless him and give him wisdom to lead the Liberian peoples”, she said.
Market superintendent Paul K. Simpson, commended the Weah administration for such a modern market project in the county.
“As you see for yourself, marketers are selling comfortably, no embarrassment, they are pleased, no confusion; it should tell you that all is well with us as market heads.”
The Pleebo general market superintendent however noted the market building has not been formally turned over by President Weah, marketers were being allowed temporarily to move in and sell, pending official dedication of the building to the people of Maryland County.
President George Weah over the weekend dedicated the 14 Gobarchop Market in VOA community, Paynesville and subsequently broke grounds early this week, for a modern Duala Market on Bushrod Island.
Both projects are under the auspices of the Government of Liberia with assistance from the Government of Japan.
By Patrick N. Mensah, Maryland County–Editing by Jonathan Browne