By Aderonke Ojediran
Lagos – Some traders at the popular Oshodi Market, on Thursday identified multiple taxation, absence of parking space and threats by touts as some of pressing challenges facing traders in the market.
Traders in interviews with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at Oshodi said that these challenges were affecting their profit margin.
Alhaji Tajudeen Lateef, the Vice Chairman (Babaloja) of Oshodi Market, explained that businesses in the market also suffer from lack of access to loans.
“All we see in the market is various taxes that we don’t even understand, and you honestly can’t challenge them, you just have to pay.
“This is minus shop permit that we pay yearly. If I begin to explain these levies, I will get you confused because I equally do not have solid understanding.
“Secondly we all know as business people we need loans to assist us from time to time, that Tradermoni initiative from government is not helping traders much.
“I can spend N10,000 in a day, what they should have done is to assess your store and see how much it is worth.
“When I took a loan of N1,000,000 from micro-finance bank I know how much I had to pay back in return. Make loans accessible to market men and women with low interest,’’ he said.
The Woman Leader (Iyaloja) of Oshodi Market, Alhaja Sikirat Adeyanju, urged government to help fast track the construction of the ongoing parking space and provide good road network.
“Most of the time, our customers complain bitterly about the absence of parking space in the market.
”They find it difficult coming to shop here when they remember that the safety of their cars can’t be guaranteed,’’ she said.
A market woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told NAN that touts, known as “area boys“, reign in the market with so much impunity.
“We can’t talk about this, because our lives will be in danger. Do you know that in this market, area boys can just walk into your shop and pick anything that they like and nothing will happen.
“You can’t challenge them, because they have godfathers. Women are the main target because by nature we can’t start fighting with tugs.
“Our security is at risk daily and it’s so worrisome. Being a tout is fast becoming a lifestyle among our youths and the young impressionable minds,’’ she said.
Reacting to the allegations, Mr Olugbenga Oyekan, the Market Master at the Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Council Development Area (LCDA) said measures are in place to address the challenges.
“As for good road channel, it is part of our budget; we are just waiting for the raining season to stop, so we can commence the reconstruction.
“Also for taxation, I honestly don’t see multiple taxations as an issue. The truth is initially we tax N5,000 and we increased it to N6,200 and those with bigger stores pay N8,000,’’ he said. (NAN)