Sunday, 05 January 2014 11:48
Furious stallholders in Lagos need 5,000 people to sign a petition so they can challenge controversial plans by the Portuguese Government which they say could lead to the end of the town’s market.
The national proposals, which local câmaras are required to implement, could be introduced in late January. They would mean all stallholders would have to issue receipts for every single purchase made in the market. Traders would have to register with the Finanças, buy numbered receipt books, pay a monthly fee of 63 euros and then submit a report every four weeks including their first and last receipt for that period.
Stallholders told the ‘Tomorrow’ Newsletter the regulations would be disastrous for the market. One market trader said: “Many of the stallholders are pensioners and supplement their meager pensions by selling surplus produce from their little plots. Many are illiterate and won’t be able to deal with the paperwork.”
Karen Crisewetter from Barão de S. João who has been selling Aloe Vera products in the market for years said that an item costing 30 centimos would require a receipt and as the receipt itself costs 50 centimos they would always out lose money.
She also said that during quiet winter months they might only make €20 per week. She added that having to pay €63 to the Finanças each month would mean they would hardly make any money especially when transport costs had been taken into account.
“Many will cease to sell at the market which would be a huge loss to the community and will add to people’s poverty,” Karen said.
The traders have been discussing the plans with the Câmara. In a statement Lagos Câmara said it had been listening to their concerns and would be meeting in the near future to see if they could intervene on their behalf.
The market was specifically created after the 1974 revolution by the authorities to help people and subsistence farmers to sell their surplus produce and earn a bit of money. Many feel that principle is now under threat because of these proposals.
Natividade Correia is one of the people that started the campaign to stop the plans going ahead. She said: “The market has always been a way for people to help one another - and this is especially important in time of present economic crisis.”
When the campaigners have collected 5,000 signatures they can challenge the proposals at the National Assembly.