Government is eyeing better returns from the $5.7million market at Vaitele.
This is according to the Minister of Public Enterprises, Lautafi Fio Purcell in an interview with the Samoa Observer last Friday.
In February this year, the owner of Coin Save, one of the fastest-growing Chinese companies in Samoa, Tu’itu’ioaiga Teeking Weng, won the tender to run the $5.7 million Vaitele Market
“I think the Samoa Land Corporation is looking at earning $23,000 per month (from Tuituioaiga) and this is way better than what we’ve earned in the past years ...since the Vaitele market was first opened.
“I mean, that’s every month consistently, and I think they’ve already paid off their rent for this month and to me, that is how keen he was,” said Lautafi.
“As of today, the work at Vaitele market has been started.”
The $5.7 million Vaitele market was first opened in April, 2011 and the facility includes an expansive crops hall, a fish market area, over 50 flea market stalls and 40 business spaces for small retail shops.
Delivering the keynote address at the time, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said,
“The market will serve this side of the capital and Upolu.
“It should also immediately result in the easing of traffic through Fugalei (market), easing of the pressures and demands on the main market there and the over-crowdedness we’ve become all too familiar with through the years.
“No longer will families in this area need to go to Fugalei anymore.
“Everything they need will be sold here.”
To date, this has not been the case.
The Samoa Land Corporation, General Manager Ulugia Kavesi Petelo, confirmed that a temporary shelter for Vaitele Market vendors to use for a few weeks has already been set up.
“As of today, not more than six vendors are covering the ground floor,” Ulugia said.
“For your information, the work has begun on the market for the businessman who won the tender to move in soon,” Ulugia said.
“They’re covering the whole ground floor of the market and that’s why we set up those temporary tarpaulin shelters for vendors to move into.
“They’re looking at building a warehouse to sell many sorts of goods here and the other side will be for children to have fun.
“I think they’re working on something else apart from what other companies and supermarkets are working on.
“That’s good, because we all know the competition here in this area is very tight and that’s why they’re looking at setting up other businesses.
One farmer who spoke to the Samoa Observer on the condition of anonymity said that sales are slow.
“The market is all right but the problem is, we hardly have any customers that come here and buy from us and I think this change is another way to approach our customers,” she said.
“We also hope that this business will bring in more people to the market and buy from us. Not chasing us away from here.”
The move for Tuituioaiga to take over the empty market is strongly supported by the government.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has said Cabinet had discussed and supported the proposal from the businessman.
“His main goal is to get money out of this market.”
Tuilaepa said because of numerous reports submitted in Parliament about the failure of the Vaitele Market to make a profit, the Minister of Public Enterprises, Lautafi Fio Purcell, had to stand up and act quickly.
“That’s why the Minister has been trying so hard to look for avenues and ways to make this market work,” he said about the decision to tender the market.
“He had to do it in order for us to get money out of this market. And that is an example of a good Minister who is willing to do things for the benefit of our people.
“He saw that we weren’t getting any profit from the market, so he had to do something about it. And he didn’t stop until he found a way.
“So this Chinese businessman approached him with a proposal.”