Male’ City Mayor Shifa Mohamed says the number of illegal fruit and vegetable markets in the capital city has increased and that these markets are operated by expatriates with the help from locals.

Speaking to ‘The Press’, Mayor Shifa said the markets set up at different locations in Male’ are illegal outfits initiated without valid permission from the City Council and the only city council sanctioned market in the capital city is the local Market.

The Mayor said the City Council did issue a permit that would allow one market to do business during the last Ramadan and had ordered it close once Ramadan completed. But she said that the market operators had insisted that they had a business permit and continued operations after Ramadan.

She emphasized that those operating such markets would not have permits issued by the City Council.

When questioned whether any action would be taken against such outfit, the Mayor said that any business could get the permit to start operations once they register at the Ministry of Economics and Trade and although previous regulations would only allow such operations once cleared by the City Council, now many offices have opened without the knowledge of the Council.

She noted that the number of establishments operating with a trade permit has increased and the police, City Council, and Health Protection Agency HPA need to shut down these outfits.

Mayor Shifa said upon the shutdown of the local Market, many had opened go-downs as makeshift markets and these markets were only operational because of the trade permit issued by the Ministry.

She noted that the City Council was deeply concerned by these operations and that oftentimes a local is behind these illegal outfits.

The Health Protection Agency HPA had announced a wide-scale inspection in the Greater Male’ Area that is scheduled to begin tomorrow. HPA along with other state institutions would inspect if retail outlets and service centers operating in the Capital City are adhering to the guidelines set by the agency.