Market women in Osun State on Thursday took to major roads in Osogbo, the state capital, protesting against the standard measuring scales recently launched by the Gov. Rauf Aregbesola.
The market women were seen in large number at the popular Orita-Olaiya junction with their measuring scales in their hand chanting protest song around 12noon accusing the government of forcing them to use and causing them the loss of profits.
The state government had launched the measurement in June last year but the traders had shunned it and had been using their traditional hand-measure, popularly called “Kobiowu/Kongo”.
Earlier in the week, a task force set up by the Ministry of Commerce, Cooperative and Empowerment visited various markets in the state to enforce the use of the scales on the traders. threatening that any trader that did not comply would be punished.
The ministry threatening that any trader that did not comply would be punished.
They accused the state government of selling the scales at high rates lamenting that its usage had been having negative effects on their businesses.
The protesters claimed that their customers had been complaining about the scales, also known as “Osunwon Omoluabi”.
The Renaissance reports that the market women marched to the state Secretariat at Abeere where they chanted protest songs, accusing the government of short-changing them with the compulsory use of the scales.
The market women marched to the state Secretariat at Abeere where they chanted protest songs and accused the government of short-changing them with the compulsory use of the scales.
Speaking with our correspondent during the protest, one of the market women, Mrs Fadilat Akanji, said they were from all the markets in the state and that they were rejecting the policy because the scales were not standard.had been causing them shortages.
“We have been experiencing shortages since few of us started using the scales. Even our customers are complaining against the scales.
“Even our customers are complaining against the scales.
“Imagine the government forcing an aged cola nut seller to use scales. I sell palm oil and I bought the scale at the rate of N2,500 but I now regret buying it. because it has caused damages to my business.
This is because it had caused damages to my business. All my colleagues are also complaining bitterly about the inaccuracy of the measure.
Some of the scales are even sold as high as N7,500 between N7,500 to N25,000 depending on the kind of wares you sell. We can’t accept it. Never.”
The protesters however asked the government to provide hand measure (Kobiowu/Kongo) for them to be using stressing that there was no way they could accept the standard weighing scales.
The government had launched the scheme with market women and men to ensure that people get value for their money on whatever they buy from the market, and also protect the traders from unprofitable commercial transactions.
Governor Aregbesola, while launching the standard weighing scale last year had assured that the scheme would eliminate cheating and other underhanded practices that have become the hallmark of trading in most markets.
According to the governor, “In the quest to be competitive and make more profit, which is driven by greed, traders now devise varying means of short-changing buyers.
Measures are deliberately reduced through cutting, filling with candles and wax, and sleight of hand.
Scales are tilted fraudulently while husks, chaff, barks and other rubbish are included in goods sold, with the intention of reducing the actual values of what the buyers take home.
By Saheed Adeyemi, Osogbo.