As street vendors fears being removed from streets corners
Many vehicle owners and street vendors in the city of Monrovia have begun raising qualms over the city government’s initiative which will take effect as of June 6, 2011 to turn portions of certain streets into parking lots.
Speaking to the Daily Observer yesterday, Jerome Fallah, a scrap dealer and car owner, said he was impressed by the trend the city government was taking in order to regulate cars parking at random in the city, but stated that the fees being charged was a little complicated in relation to the minimum wage an average civil servant was making.
“I welcome the government initiative which is good, but I think that the fees are very exuberant. Let’s take the US as an example, a car park will charge twenty-five US cents which is like thirty-five Liberian Dollar per hour. Just imagine you working for US$80 but you were bless by a friend or relative with a car and you L$50 for every stop you make, will you have any money left at the end of the month?” he asked.
“I think it will be better if the city government goes by the same rate as the US if that is the system they want to imitate,” he added.
Besides drivers who expressed their dissatisfaction over the projected fees of approximately L$9,000 for 8 hours, 6 days and one month, most street vendors also fear being removed from the streets corners to pave way for the city government’s initiative.
Alvin Myers, a street who been selling jeans for more than five years on Randall Street, said this move could get them out of business because he had nowhere to go and sell his goods to get profit.
“There is no way we are going down waterside to sell. That is the same place we go to buy our goods that means the stores are nearby and people would prefer to go into the store and buy the jeans for cost price and leave us,” he said.
Jones Saye, another street vendor, said he would prefer if the city government relocated him to a more conducive area where he could do business.
“Maybe this is a plan of the government to move us from here but they have to relocate us. I hope they will not use it as a means to force us back into poverty,” he said.
The street parking initiative came as a result of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the city government and City Parking Management (CPM), a private Liberian company, under which owners of cars parking at locations designated as street parking must pay a toll of L$50 (US$0.68) for every hour their cars are parked.
According to information gathered by our reporter, the initiative, which is new, could be widely accepted in the Liberian society by pedestrians and some vehicles owners.
Though the initiative shows prospective of being embraced by the city’s populace who wants to see proper ordinance in Monrovia, several vehicle owners and street vendors as well as are worried about how said initiative is going to work without being a problem for them and government.
In an effort to find out how this was going to work, the Daily Observer visited the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) to get the view of Madam Mary Broh, Acting City Mayor of Monrovia, who referenced the CPM as the best source of information on the issue.
When quizzed on lump sum the amount of the L$50 per hour toll would amount to if projected to a week then a month, CPM Administrative Assistant, Mr. T. Wellington Doyah, said ‘once a person owns a vehicle he/she understands the expensive that goes along and the L$50 toll was only addition.
He further said that cars parking in the parking space for any length of time below an hour will be required to pay the same toll as a car parking for a full hour and any minuets beyond the time paid for warrants another hour.
“The city government needs the funds raised to keep its projects such as street sweeping, garbage collect among others running,” he averred.
According to Mr. Doyah who also thinks that there could be some vehicle owners would violate the rules of the city ordinance, said that violator’s car would be booted and eventually towed to a police station for a US$ 20 fine to be paid.
Asked what would be done about the street vendors, Mr. Doyah said the CPM will get out into the streets, try to understand the vendors and make recommendations to the city government which is responsible to keep the city tidied.
A rough data gathered from the Ministry of Transportation indicates that the amount of cars registered in the country approximately 80,000.