Scores of market women on Thursday took to major streets in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, to protest what they termed an imposition of “standard measuring scales” introduced by the government of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
DAILY POST reports that the state government, through the Ministry of Commerce launched the scales in June 2016, with so much publicity and awareness programme for market women.
However, market women in the state, despite the robust awareness programme have totally rejected the idea, sticking wholeheartedly to the traditional measuring cup called “Kobiowu” in Yoruba parlance.
The noncompliance of the traders, therefore, prompted some officials of the state government to embark on forceful enforcement of the policy in different markets around the state, with attendant penalty for defaulters.
The response of the women against the forceful enforcement was the barricade of the popular Ola-iya, which eventually resulted to gridlock on the Gbongan-Osogbo road for hours.
According to the protesters, the foisted scales, aside being sold at an exorbitant price to them also reduced their profit margin drastically.
One of them, Mrs Fadilat Akanji said they were from all the markets in the state, adding that their refusal of the scales was hinged on its unfavourable profit-margin.
“We have been experiencing shortages since few of us started using the scales, even our customers are complaining against the scales. Imagine the government forcing an aged colanut 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.
“All of my colleagues are also complaining bitterly. Some of the scales are even sold between N7,500 and N25,000, ” she said.
Meanwhile, the government during the launching of the”standard scales” never mentioned that the policy is tailored towards generating revenue for the state.
Gov. Aregbesola, while launching the scales last year had assured traders in the state that the scheme would eliminate cheating and other underhanded practices that have become the hallmark of trading in most markets.