Hawkers worry Nyarugenge market traders

The increasing number of hawkers in Biryogo, Nyarugenge District is worrying market traders, who are calling on the authorities to evict them from the streets.
Women buy greens from a street vendor. Traders in Biryogo are complaining about street vendors ‘taking’ their clients. The New Times / Timothy Kisambira
Women buy greens from a street vendor. Traders in Biryogo are complaining about street vendors ‘taking’ their clients. The New Times / Timothy Kisambira

The increasing number of hawkers in Biryogo, Nyarugenge District is worrying market traders, who are calling on the authorities to evict them from the streets.

Priscilla Mukaruzima, a trader in Biryogo market, said the hawkers were operating illegally on streets.

“The hawkers sell the same goods as we do, but at lower prices because they do not pay taxes. This affects our businesses,” she said.

The market, which was built to give traders a permanent and hygienic workplace,  sells foodstuffs, clothes and has sections for tailors and crafts.

Aisha Nyiramana, who has a stall in  the market, said they were making losses as their clients were being ‘hijacked’ by hawkers.

“We pay taxes, but we don’t sell our commodities because the hawkers entice them with cheap goods,” she said.

 Nyiramana explained that if say, one bought a dress at Rwf1,000, aiming to sell it at Rwf1,500 to make some profit, hawkers will sell it at Rwf1,100 because they don’t pay taxes.

Steven Butera, a salesman, urged the authorities to take strong measures and get the hawkers off the streets.

Solange Mukasonga, the Nyarugenge District mayor, said the local authorities were aware of the problem, noting they were trying hard to ensure that hawkers stop working from the streets. The mayor added that they would also compel the traders, who abandoned the market and set up shop on the streets and the other illegal vendors, to occupy the free stalls in the market.

Jean-Pierre Havugimana, a hawker, however, claimed the traders in the market were not making profits because they have limited choices to offer customers since they invest little money in their businesses.

“If you want to improve your business, you have to invest enough capital to offer clients a variety of choices,” he said.

He added that evicting them from the streets would not be fair as they have to earn money to sustain their families.

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