ONGWEDIVA – The Ongwediva Town Council has pledged to boost the morale and revive the entrepreneurial spirit of the vendors at the almost abandoned Wilbard Haindongo opened market by introducing monthly activities aimed to attract customers.
Although 20 people are allocated places to sell at the N$766,000 market at Efidi Lomulunga, only one or two crop up for a few hours.
The open market was officially opened in June by the Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Peya Mushelenga.
The vendors charged that the market is shielded from the customers and as a result there is no buying power, hence they only come to show face for a few hours.
“I come here every day, but the only customer I am likely to get is the security guard on duty and so I am forced to sell around the location,” said Veronika Matutu, who sells meat.
Community members who frequent the open market said that due to a lack of customers, the vendors’ goods are left to rot.
When New Era visited the open market an hour before midday on Monday, there was no vendor in sight except for Matutu who was just passing by. The spokesperson for Ongwediva Town Council, Jackson Muma, said the council is aware of the challenges of the vendors and was aware that the market would not boom from the word go.
“Our hope is that business will pick up gradually – primarily we want to ensure the market is known and that business is prospering, hence we will be taking activities to the market just so we attract customers,” Muma said. Muma urged the vendors to also do their part by being innovative by selling goods that are not available in the area.
He said council will also further investigate whether the vendors’ allocated space at the open market is not on the lists of other open markets within the town.
Sharing a different view, a source who refused to be named said the vendors are partially to blame for the slow business.
She said vendors only come to show face and disappear shortly afterwards.
“The market is there and so are the customers, but how does one expect the customers to frequent the market if the vendors come as they please,” the source questioned.