By: Modou Touray
In an effort to curb rampant shop breakings at the Jarra Soma market and to extend the business hours of the vendors, bright solar lights have been installed which the vendors say will catapult business activities.
In an interview to ascertain the impact of the lights on business at the Jarra Soma market, vendors pointed out that the market environment used to be dark when the main electricity supply goes off exposing their goods to theft and physical attacks by criminals. With the provision of solar streetlights by the Mansakonko Area Council, the environment is safe and better secured now.
“It’s a relief for us, many of us close very early to go home because the market used to be dark when electricity is off. Now we can close by midnight,” Fadel, an electronic shop vendor told TFN.
“I sell cafe-touba which is normally marketable in the evening and early morning. Some vehicle drivers and morning vegetable vendors use it for breakfast. I will not fear closing late and also coming early to serve my customers,” Medun Faal said.
“This is a positive move because for us the fish vendors, we get to the market very early in the morning and we close late as well,” Meta Sonko a fish vendor revealed.
Today, solar streetlights have become the lighting source being mostly used for outdoor lighting. Solar energy is the solar streetlights’ primary energy source. Photovoltaic panels, which are always placed on the integrated poles, power the streetlights. Since the demand for continuous power and lighting has increased in urban and rural areas.
Jama Sowe, the deputy imam of the Jarra Soma Market, spoke at length on the significance of solar lights.
“We can now pray at the mosque at night. It’s also beneficial to people whose compounds are near the market.”
A market is a place where buyers and sellers can meet to facilitate the exchange or transaction of goods and services. Markets can be physical like a retail outlet, or virtual like an e-retailer.
Marie Gikineh, the vice-chairman of the market committee said the streetlights are essential to enhance security at the market.
“The market is a source of revenue for the council therefore they need to provide for our needs.”
Jarra Soma is a vibrant cross-border market town and an economic hub of the Gambia, for his reaction, the chairman of the Mansakonko Area Council Mr Landing B Sanneh asserted that the solar lights project at the Jarra Soma Market is to reduce crime and bolster business activities.
“We need to create a conducive environment so that vendors can stay longer at the market. Soma is a growing city, and we envisage Jarra Soma to be the next city. It is the main transit city linking different countries. We need to make the market environment safe for the taxpayers. The lighting systems are of very high quality.”
Chairman Sanneh further pointed out that the duration of the lights is five years but gives assurance of its sustainability.
“As a Council, we are committed to providing basic services and facilities to the people we are serving and that is ongoing.”