PM Opens Laqere Mar­ket

Bain­i­marama also vows to end il­le­gal mar­ket struc­ture

Fiji Sun - - SUNCITY - SHALVEEN CHAND Edited by Caro­line Ratu­cadra Feed­back: shalveen.chand@fi­jisun.

The Laqere Mar­ket in Nas­inu is now open for busi­ness. Prime Min­is­ter Voreqe Bain­i­marama of­fi­cially opened the $7.2 mil­lion mar­ket yes­ter­day in a not so grand man­ner amidst the COVID-19 re­stric­tions.

How­ever, his mes­sage was clear. He wants an end to il­le­gal mar­ket struc­tures which have been built on road re­serves, mu­nic­i­pal prop­er­ties and other peo­ple’s prop­er­ties.

“These can be dan­ger­ous places to work. At times, ven­dors have had to sleep in their own stalls just to keep their goods and pro­duce from be­ing stolen,” Mr

Bain­i­marama said.

“They are of­ten un­san­i­tary and un­sightly. They do not rep­re­sent how any­one ought to be go­ing about their busi­ness in a mod­ern econ­omy.

“Not to men­tion these stalls are scat­tered about, forc­ing cus­tomers to hop from stall to stall across Nas­inu rather than do their buy­ing in a sin­gle clean, con­sol­i­dated lo­ca­tion. This isn’t a new prob­lem nor is it Nas­inu’s alone, it is a decades-old is­sue that has plagued com­mu­ni­ties na­tion­wide.”

Mr Bain­i­marama said that was the rea­son for the Govern­ment’s fund­ing of new mar­kets and mini-mar­kets in the mu­nic­i­pal ar­eas.

He said as the Fi­jian econ­omy mod­ernises, so must mar­ket­places and the way Fi­jians do busi­ness.

“For the well-be­ing of our ven­dors and their cus­tomers alike, we must shift away from the in­for­mal dis­or­gan­ised way of op­er­at­ing,” he said.

“This new mar­ket is the chance for these ven­dors to embrace the fu­ture of Fi­jian com­merce by es­tab­lish­ing a per­ma­nent pres­ence in this brand-new mar­ket­place.” It was con­firmed by Nas­inu Town Coun­cil that il­le­gal struc­tures that were for more than two decades known as the Laqere mar­ket area, are be­ing taken down.

Min­is­ter for Lo­cal Govern­ment Premila Ku­mar said land­scap­ing work would fol­low to beau­tify the area.

The new mar­ket­place con­tains 459 ven­dor stalls, 12 kiosks and three mini-restau­rants. It also comes with am­ple room to ex­pand park­ing in the fu­ture.

Photo: Ron­ald Ku­mar

Prime Min­is­ter Voreqe Bain­i­marama, Nas­inu and Min­is­ter for Lo­cal Govern­ment Premila Ku­mar dur­ing the open­ing of Laqere Mar­ket on May 13, 2020.

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