Jayapura – Papuan indigenous traders are very worried about the fact that they are not able to compete economically because of the arrival in Papua of immigrants who are 'taking over' the trade in many simple commodities which has for a long time been where Papuan women (mama-mama) are conducting their business activities.
'If nothing is done about this, we can be sure that within the next ten years, the mama-mama will not be able to compete in the markets. Many shopping malls, shops, agricultural product businesses, self-service shops and hypermarkets will be selling these commodities, with the help of lorries which are transporting the commodities everywhere, even along alleyways,' said Robert Jitman, an activist in SOLPAP (Indigenous Papuan Traders Solidarity).
He said that he was seeking the help of the MRP (Majelis Rakyat Papua) to play a more active role with regard to building markets for the mama-mama to ensure that they can carry out their business activities. He also said that he was seeking support from the MRP with regard to what happened to some mama-mama who were recently evicted from Jalan Irian.
Robert Jitman stressed the importance of these markets in ensuring a self-supporting economy and said it is necessary for the government to take action as quickly as possible. He said that he wrote last month to the Governor of Papua, Lukas Enembe to seek information about the fact that a permanent market where the mama-mama can trade has not yet been built in one of the main roads in Papua, Jalan Percetakan Negara.
SOLPAP is also seeking an audit from the BPK (?) with regard to the allocation of funds for building the market for the mama-mama, which was allocated as long ago as 2009. He was also seeking to ensure the inclusion in SOLPAP of church leaders, NGOs, students and the press (Alliance of Independent Journalists).
The letter to Governor Enembe also suggested that there should be a special regional regulation (perdasus) to protect and assist the mama-mama in conducting their trade in certain commodities and also suggested that a team be set up to ensure that the special market for the mama-mama is built.
[Translated by TAPOL.]