The Brikama Craft Market has been reportedly underpaid by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture from the covid-19 support fund compare to its counterparts in the Greater Banjul Areas.
In October, the Ministry has disbursed the sum of D100 Million as covid-19 support for resilience and recovery to the tourism, culture and hospitality institutions but unfortunately, the country’s oldest and biggest Craft Market felt it was not given what it deserved.
“Yes, we have received money from the covid-19 package but the amount given is not what we were expecting,” said Saja Krubally, a Committee Member.
According to him, a sum of D330, 000 Dalasi was given to them for 55 stores which is far less than the total number of stores in the craft market with 93 registered stores. He added that the money was distributed between 93 store owners because they cannot pay some and leave others.
“Every store owner is given D3, 500 Dalasi compare to our counterparts who are each given D6, 000 Dalasi,” Saja stated.
“What is D3, 500 Dalasi to someone who has not been in business for 9 months? Imagine, a family head who has not been in business for such a long period? We are really living in difficult times,” he said.
The veteran craftsman called on the government to consider the craft market which is bigger than any other sector in the tourism industry, adding that they should be treated fairly and not otherwise.
Buba Bojang, a store owner also complained about the reason for being underpaid by the country’s Tourism Board is unrealistic.
“We are underpaid because they said we [brikama craft market] are under the Brikama Area Council and not paying license to the Gambia Tourism Board,” Buba Bojang remarked.
Bojang decried over the amount paid to them that cannot served the purpose it was given for.
Meanwhile, the disbursement is part of the recovery work plan and budget for the licenced institutions, stakeholders and tourism establishment in the sector across the country.