Trader at the Douala Central Market are not happy with the decision to shut down their shops for a whole day.
The atmosphere at the Central Market in Douala this Friday morning, March 27, 2020 was tensed as some traders tried to defy council authorities who declared a general shut down of shops and markets in the entire Douala II municipality.
Denis Fampou, Mayor of the council area, in a communique, passed the order in lined with measure taken by the government of the Republic of Cameroon to curb the viral spread of the Corona Virus in the country.
The decision was saluted by many who believe that markets are high concentration areas for people and respect of hygienic rules is still a call for concern.
It is actually good news to shut down markets but the act is not without consequences, this reporter was told by one of the angry traders present in front of her shop at the market this morning.
Denizens in Douala are equally complaining that the decision came in at a very short notice, given them little or no time to get goods that are specific to the central market.
Trader on their part, worry particularly about a whole day’s lost which will cause perishable goods to get bad, coupled with profit/income reductions at the end of the month.
Their cry was backed by arguments that no compensatory economic advantage like tax slahes have been earmarked alongside the shut down order.
Some traders went as far as to accuse the Mayor of the Douala II municipality of going against measures already taken by the Minister of Trade, who recently reorganised market operations in the country.
According to Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, market operations are to open by 9:00 Am daily and close by 4:00 Pm, the rest of the time dedicated to clean up campaigns.
Access into and out of markets shall be regulated to avoid congestion and contacts.
These measures according to the traders were and still remain the best.
Sources say the decision from Mayor Fampou, was actually provoked by the escalation of Corona transmissions in the country where the Douala now has up to 25 tested positive cases out of 88 registered in the country.
Close to 300 suspected cases are still waiting to be tested for Covid-19 in the Littoral region.
The protest from traders in Douala comes after that of road transport agencies playing the Yaounde-Ebolowa, Ebolowa-Yaounde highway.
The transporters grounded their buses in the early hours of Thursday, March 26 at the Mvan neighborhood to protest the decision from the Minister of Transport, Jean Ernest Massena Ngalle Bibehe to reduce the number of passengers on board inter-urban buses, taxis and commercial Moto bikes in the country.
The decision is not good news to taxi drivers who on their part are still observing and reflecting on the way forward unless compensatory advantages are provided to them.