By PETER ESILA
STEVEN John, 48, has been a supervisor at the Alotau market since 2014.
He was a supervisor at the old market before moving to the temporary market in 2018, and now the new K42 million market and fisheries facility opened last month.
Father-of-four Steven is from Bubuleta in the Huhu local level government.
His job is to meet the management’s revenue target from the market fees.
“Sometimes I try to explain to the village people that they have to pay market fees.”
The new Alotau town market and fisheries facilities was built through a K32 million funding by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) Overseas Fisheries Cooperation Foundation. The National Fisheries Authority (NFA) contributed K10m.
Before his current job, Steven worked for a company in Lae before returning to the village in Bubuleta to serve as a ward councilor for 15 years. He became the supervisor for the main market and fish market in 2014.
A temporary market was built by the NFA in 2018 costing K5.1 million for vendors to use while the new one was being built.
“The market is a public area. It is not a private area. So you have to deal with all kinds of people. Everyone is crowded.”
He ensures that market rules are followed such as no smoking and no chewing of betel nut. Everyone must exercise cleanliness.
“ The market is a public area. It is not a private area. So you have to deal with all kinds of people. Everyone is crowded.”
There are four wardens, four security officers and two janitors under him. He keeps on reminding them of the rules to enforce on those using the market.
He hopes to see more employed now that the market is bigger.
“I think they are going to put them into sections. There will be one cleaner for the fish section and maybe six for this main market. The wardens may be increased to seven or eight. That is what I heard from the administration.”
The market will be owned by the Huhu LLG.
“The main challenge is to collect fees. It is the main source of revenue. The LLG relies on us to collect revenue. They give us a target, for example K500,000 in five months. I have to make that target with the help of my wardens.
“Some of our village people come to the market and complain about having to pay fees. I tell them that all the markets in the country impose fees. There is no market that does not charge fees. Markets have rules.”
Steven welcomes the new multi-million kina facility and hopes the people use it to generate income for their families and to ensure that it is kept clean and safe.
His job is to make sure it remains the pride of not only Hula but also of Alotau and Milne Bay.