It could be recalled that ban was part of the State of Emergency (SOE) restrictions imposed by government to prevent the spread of the Ebola Virus which claimed 3,500 lives. Trading hours were also reduced to provide front line workers easy access to any reported case.
The disease itself was defeated over a year ago and while most SOE restrictions were lifted, the Sunday ban remained throughout the country. Some observers believe it was an effort by government to implement an old law passed by a Pre -Independent era Parliament and confined only to the Colony of Freetown.
Platinum Media went down town Freetown to seek the views of mostly petty traders. At Abacha Street, 39 year old Musu Conteh who hawks confectioneries said she now experiences a significant drop in sales. According to Musu, business was normally good at a time like this when schools are in session. “my major customers are school children or their parents …..if I can’t sell throughout the week, I can’t make enough money to take care of my own family” she said.
We also interviewed several traders at Hagan Street popularly known as Dove Cut Market where a larger proportion deals in perishable goods. Among them was Alpha Turay who runs a cassava and sweet potato business between Makeni and Freetown. “My sales have dropped…business is bad and the current Sunday ban has only made matters worse for me….if I don’t sell on Sunday, I risk losing some of my cassava or potatoes” he stated with an angry look on his face.
Similar views were expressed by over 30 traders interviewed by this medium. Efforts to reach the leadership of the Petty Traders to ascertain claims of imminent protest by the petty traders proved futile. We are however convinced that the current situation is not unconnected to the economic crisis in the country.
As a responsible medium, Platinum Media is equally calling on government to review the Sunday trading ban.
This will in several ways help to cushion the effects on ordinary Sierra Leoneans as we go through these hard times.
*(The Authentic Voice)*