A.C.C. responds to Fugalei vendor complaints

The Accident Compensation Corporation (A.C.C.) has no plans to assist market stall operators at the Fugalei Market by forgiving rental payments for the months of March through June.

That is the view of the Principal Human Resources Manager and Admin at A.C.C., Salefao Ropati Peteru.

Salefao told Samoa Observer in an interview that they will absorb the cost of rent for May and June but vendors should pay the rent for March and April.

“Just May and June have been announced in our stimulus package…so those are the two months that are being considered. At the moment that is where it stands. As we all know, the Government is working on a second stimulus package,” he said.

“A.C.C. owns the market and A.C.C. is making the call, A.C.C. is assisting the Government with the second stimulus package. It isn’t out yet there is no expectation regarding the market and the stimulus package because the Government is still working on it," he said. "At the moment everyone at the market is enjoying free rent. In these two months, as you can see, there hasn’t been a shortage of customers and at the same time we are doing our clean-up, using a lot of power and water, those are expenses covered by the A.C.C. We do this for our people, that is pretty much what we are doing.”

Market stall operators with past due rental payments from March and April will have to pay up and all tenants were notified in a letter, he said. “Those arrears are from past months and those are the payments we are after, everyone knows, we sent a letter to them, all tenants."

The three vendors who spoke to the Observer this week, seeking relief from the Government on rental payments, are located in the flea market section of the Fugalei Market.

“They already paid their bonds in the beginning so those people, they also are enjoying free rent. If they have arrears, we have already informed them," Salefao added. "This is the time to pay their arrears…business has picked up so they can pay their arrears, that is all, there is no drama. We are kindly advising them to use this time to pay their arrears, we see that they are earning money."

He was surprised to hear of the rental payment complaints of the flea market vendors and pointed out that the only complaint he has received is in regard to the ban on sleeping at the market.

“We do not recommend sleeping at the market….sleeping at the market is no longer allowed, the reason is we have so much work to do when people sleep at the market,” Salefao said. “When they sleep there, they drink and they get drunk and they get into fights.”

When people sleep at the market, it creates a high-risk atmosphere that could lead to labilities for A.C.C., Salefao added.

“We need to avoid this because if people get hurt at the market, then they say A.C.C. should pay for this and pay for that. The rule for the market is no sleeping, e sa le moe…the reason we allowed it is because we love them and there were so many requests but we have learned that he people who sleep there at the market are the people who are running the market."

Salefao said he physically checks the market twice a day to see and ensure that everything is in order.

About the Sunday market, he said, on Sunday market stalls are free so now that the market is closed on Sunday, the A.C.C. is saving money.

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