Earlier this month, vendors from the Port Vila market haos went on a one-day strike to oppose increased fees. The annual fee increased to 10, 000vt and is part of the council plans to improve market services and facilities.
The Port Vila Municipal Council said that the 10, 000vt is a registration fee that will replace the permit fee. A new registration system will be launched in March and vendors can register individually or as a group to meet the registration fee in order to occupy a table. Vendors also have to pay 450vt per day to occupy a table.
The majority of the vendors are women with many of them responsible for harvesting, transporting and selling their own crops while also having to deal with cramped selling spaces, poor toilet facilities and overflowing rubbish at the market haos.
It is hoped that the new registration system, an initiative of the Market for Change Program, will improve facilities and also develop market vendor’s financial and business skills.