By Tabora Bojang
The Kanifing Municipal Council has said payment of ‘daily dues and operational licenses do not permit businesses to occupy or settle in public areas’ and called on those affected by the ongoing demolition exercise to take up spaces available in council-run markets in Old Jeshwang, Abuko and Manjai among others.
The government is currently on a rigorous road clearing exercise which saw demolition of stalls and buildings it said are illegally built in contravention of road safety and building rules.
The exercise proved to be popular among the public but many people are outraged that their daily lives have been destroyed by the exercise. Others blamed KMC for being only interested in collecting daily rates and never telling them about any illegal occupation of spaces.
But in a press release issued yesterday, the KMC said it has received several complaints from street vendors during the exercise and wishes to clarify that it has not issued any new allocations for street vending since 2019 when it passed a resolution to put an embargo on all new street allocations to discourage any illegal encroachments and the public nuisance cause.
“Management wants to clarify those daily dues and operational licences do not permit any business to occupy or settle in public areas. Any business operating within the Municipality is required by law to pay daily fees and or an operational licence as the case may be. However, the payment of such fees does not serve as an official allocation of the space occupied. All legal canteen allocations along the highway were done before the 2019 embargo and all are holding temporary status and may be asked to vacate any such time as the council or government requires for the public interest. The leadership and management of the KMC wish to express sympathy with all business owners affected. We should remember that the ongoing exercise is in the best interest of the general public which supersedes any individual interest,” the statement said.
The Council said efforts are also underway to build and expand markets to create more stalls for businesses within the municipality.