Customers snub city”s traditional markets

Published: 22/05/2011 05:00

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Many retail markets in HCM City are facing a sharp decrease in
stall occupancy rates, causing financial problems for market managers.


Citizens shop at Binh
Tay Market in HCM City’s District 6. The number of vendors at HCM City’s big
traditional markets has decreased sharply.
(Photo: VNS)

At Pham
Van Hai Retail Market in Tan Binh District, for example, most stalls selling
fresh food closed by 10am the other day, far earlier than normal. Market vendor
Huynh Thanh Hai said she had sold only VND100,000 worth of vegetables.


The
number of stalls in the market has fallen significantly, according to Nguyen
Xuan Truong, head of the Pham Van Hai Market Managing Board.


In the
market section C alone, the number has dropped from 200 to 20, Truong said.


The
scenario is the same in Go Vap market in Go Vap District, Ba Chieu market in
Binh Thanh District, Hoang Hoa Tham market in Tan Binh District and Binh Tay
market in District 6.


At Go
Vap Market, Nguyen Thi Huong was putting bunches of unsold vegetables in a bag,
saying that she was going to give them to a nearby pagoda and charity house.


“There
are very few customers coming into the market these days,” Huong said. “Many
stalls around me have been left empty since owners of these stalls stopped
selling or shifted to selling other kinds of items because of few customers and
high taxation.”


According to figures from the Ba Chieu Market Management Board, the number of
stalls that sell fresh food had fallen to 15 per cent of capacity, with the
remaining 70 per cent unoccupied, since the beginning of the year. Owners of
some of these stalls moved their businesses to areas outside of the market.


The Go
Vap Market Managing Board also revealed that the purchasing power at the market
fell by 40 per cent compared with last year.


Market
management boards say more stalls are closing because of a rapid increase in wet
markets (illegal street-based markets) outside the main markets, high taxation,
and deterioriating facilities at traditional markets.


Tran
Minh Phuong of the Ba Chieu Market Management Board said the wet market nearly
encircles the main market because the former was favoured by many housekeepers
as they did not have to leave their motorbikes while buying food.


“We have
done many things to settle this wet market problem; however, it has not been
very effective since streets around the market are under the control of people’s
committees of different wards,” Phuong said.


“The
market management board has many times worked with the district’s examination
teams and construction inspectors as well as the city’s market management board
to clear wet markets around Pham Van Hai Market,” Xuan said.


However,
violations continue even though the department has spent a great deal of money
to carry out numerous inspections.



Currently, traders’ selling power has fallen significantly in the main market
because goods sold there are available at the outside markets.


“Sellers
outside the main market are required to pay a small fee to the ward management
board, which is much lower than the tax level being paid by traders in the main
market,” he said.


Many
small traders as well as consumers are turning their face away from traditional
markets also because of poor infrastructure. Many of the markets are dirty with
old waste water drainage systems that cannot be used.


Other
problems included unstable prices of goods and competition from an increasing
number of supermarkets with modern equipment, which offered prices cheaper than
in the traditional markets, market managers said.


According to the city’s market development scheme, by 2015 authorised agencies
plan to either relocate or clear at least 48 traditional markets. Those that are
not on the list of relocation will be upgraded. The function of some ineffective
markets will be changed, also.


VietNamNet/Viet
Nam News

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