The Gambia Market Union has called on goverment to put an end to ‘wanterr’, a seasonal business activity when goods are sold at giveaway prices.
The Union made this call during its consultative meeting with market associations across the country held at the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The interface, which came barely a month before Tobaski, was called to discuss and evaluate challenges faced by the market stakeholders.
“The government needs to put a stop to foreign wanterr sellers in The Gambia,” Nato Camara, a shop owner and a representative of Brikama Market Association, said at the meeting.
“We only go to Senegal to buy our goods and return to The Gambia to sell but people bring their goods from Senegal to sell in our markets when no Gambian dares to sell in a Senegalese market. We need the government to look into this. These seasonal vendors do not pay tax like us and they are taking over our markets during a season we expect to make more sales to cover our expenditures and loses,” she lamented.
Nato said the presence of ‘wanterr’ sellers during festive seasons severely affects their businesses.
“My shop is still stocked with goods I bought a long time ago because I did not have sales. Sometimes I don’t even have enough money to order for goods much more making profit and I am paying tax and shop rent,” she added.
The secretary general of the Gambia Market Union, Malangding B Bojang, also lamented that petty sellers are obstructing their businesses.
“They should find themselves stores in the market. We are facing big problem with the wanterr people in the market. Whenever it’s festive season, sellers come from Senegal and other parts of the country to Brikama to sell and they are scattered everywhere. The people doing this do not have shops in the market and we the shop owners have to sit in our shops and wait for the customers,”
He said before the current realities, it was the stall owners who would go outside and do wanterr.
“But the narrative has changed and we want government to put a stop to wanterr and foreign sellers not only for the Tobaski but beyond,” Bojang urged.
The Union also called on the authorities to ensure the national trade fair is decentralized to towns in other regions of the country such as Farafenni and Basse.
Theresa Diarra, GCCI corporate services manager, assured that the Chamber will continue to advocate and work to ensure an enabling enviroment for all businesses to thrive in The Gambia.
“When the businesses thrive, the economy thrives and Gambia moves forward.”