Chamber warns Islamic and City Council over disputing traders

Robert Pitia, the head of CES chamber of commerce-File photo

By Bida Elly David

The administration of Central Equatoria State Chamber of Commerce has called on the authorities of Juba City Council and the Islamic councils to pause collection of ground rent from traders and wait for their court ruling over the case of multiple shops ownership in Konyo-Konyo.

This came following series of contradiction formerly caused by the City Council and the Islamic Council over the ownership of over 100 shops in Konyo-Konyo market leaving many traders in dilemma as both sides imposed double ground rental fees.

Last year, the City Council and the Islamic Council rivaled over the ownership of shops in Konyo-Konyo market resulting into double collection of rental fees from the merchants who hired shops for their businesses.

The contradiction between the two councils left some of the traders in dilemma as they could not trace the full ownership of the business grounds they were paying.

The incident made one of the traders to violently fight with one of the officers at the point of eviction.

At the same note, the authorities of the city council earlier filed a legal case against the Islamic Council regarding the ownership of the 200 shops in the market thus leaving the duo to await court hearing which remained paused until today.

Despite the grudges, the two institutions reportedly continued to collect ground rent from local and foreign traders through series of harassments and expulsion. 

Speaking to the media this week, Robert Pitia, the chairperson for the chamber of commerce warned the two councils against threats on traders and urged them to abstain from collecting ground fees until the court rules their case.

“What is happening to the traders in the market is indeed against their businesses. The two conflicting parties should stop collecting ground rent from the business people until they finalize with their final court ruling to avoid inflation,” he said.

Pitia further said traders are sensitive people who fluctuate their enterprises according to the theory of demand and supply thus where there is a heavy duty on them; they tend to make the market inelastic to meet their profit margin.

He underscored that what the two institutions are doing against the traders reciprocate the effects to the final consumers and urged them to settle their issue legally.

In addition, he called on the traders to be cautious with the right tariff institution to deal with to avoid deceits and manipulation of their enterprises since not every institution is mandated to collect tariffs.

However, Pitia clarified to both institutions about the legal approach on issues that require amicable settlement through the law.

“South Sudan is among countries that existed in a civil world. We are staying in a Country where there is law and order and therefore if you believe that you have the right over certain things, go claim it in the court and the court will determine your right through the law instead of intimidating and contradicting the market situation and the entire citizens who are the actual beneficiaries of the services,” he noted.

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