Even though the main reason for street trading is to earn a living, it has gotten out of hands especially in the central business district. Apart from interrupting human and vehicular traffic, street trading also leaves the streets of Freetown littered with plastic bags, wrappers and other forms of wastes. This makes our streets very dirty, untidy and unsightly.
To control this chaos, the Freetown City Council (FCC) has put certain measures in place and embarked on operations to eradicate street trading and peddling especially from the central business district. The measures include payment of taxes for goods and also the acquisition of tickets by street traders to legitimise their trade. This has become a major problem for street traders especially those in the central business district of Freetown.
When interviewed, some traders claimed that members of the metropolitan police (city council police) extort money from them in exchange for their goods that are being seized on a daily basis. But the head of the city council metropolitan police, John Tego-Mella Saio denied these allegations on behalf of his staff.
Some traders also expressed their disappointment over the non availability of a market for some of them to do business and they pleaded for the government to build a market place for them so they can avoid selling on the streets.
Many people see the creation of more markets as a solution to street trading and indeed, this is a great idea. It is assumed that more markets will give street traders a conducive and appropriate environment to do their business. But in Freetown, curbing street trading will take much more than creating new markets and persuading street traders and hawkers to sell their goods there because the business of street trading is much more an issue of survival as it is cultural.