Mali capital Bamako was Monday paralysed by a strike by transport sector operators and businesspeople.
Traders and private transport workers’ unions urged their members to go on a two-day strike, beginning Monday, to protest against high taxes and rents.
The traders are also opposed to the contract system of hiring stores for their operations.
“The mayor wants us to pay 16,300 CFA Francs instead of 10,000 CFA Francs for a store, which can hardly accommodate our wares. He also plans to establish a two-year contract for using these stores. As a poor trader, I am not sure I can keep my shop at the end of the contract,” lamented A. T. a young retailer at the Quartier du Fleuve, who preferred being identified only by the initials of his name.
Many workers and businesspeople arrived late at their places of work as they could not get means of transportation.
“This morning, a friend phoned me at 7:50am. He wanted me to bring him downtown,” a motorcyclist said.
Markets were empty. Those who do not own a car or a motorbike, were forced to cross the three bridges of Bamako on foot to get to their destinations.
Reports indicated the government was willing to listen to the issues raised by the protesters.
The results of our negotiations should find solutions to the problems, as nothing is better than dialogue, said the minister for Land Administration and Local Districts, Gen Kafougouna Koné.