UGANDA, Mbarara | Real Muloodi News | Over 700 vendors were relocated to Independence Park in Mbarara City when the reconstruction of Mbarara Central Market began. A market vendors list was formulated of those who were to be allocated stalls after the market completion. When the list was later displayed, some vendors’ names were missing.
The vendors tabled their complaints to the concerned authorities, and a committee was set up to verify the displayed list.
The verification committee comprises 18 people; 14 vendors from different market departments, two city officers, and two others from the Ministry of Local Government, tells Muhammad Nyombi, the chairperson of the Vendors’ Association.
Mbarara City Clerk Asse Abireeba says the committee has camped in the market to listen to the vendors’ complaints.
The allocation of stalls will commence after the committee finishes its work, however Raphael Magyezi, the Minister for Local Government, gave the verification team only one week to validate the list and submit the findings to the ministry.
The City Mayor, Robert Mugabe Kakyebezi says the rightful vendors were the ones who were in the old market before the rebuilding began in 2017, and therefore asks the verification committee to prioritise vendors from the original market.
The market has about 485 vendor stalls, a police post, a children’s care centre, an office block, water harvesting tanks and other facilities.
Geoffrey Ettedu, the assistant commissioner and National Programs Manager in charge of the Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Project, said that the new facility would be strictly for low-income earning vendors and not top leaders who were planning to get lock-ups at the central market.
Nyombi also asked the council authorities to inform vendors of the rental fees to ascertain if they could afford the space.
Mbarara Central Market has been under reconstruction since July 2017. After its completion, Roko Construction Limited handed over the USh21 billion four-storied market building to the Mbarara City authorities.
The government awarded Roko Construction Company Limited a 21 billion shillings contract in 2018 under the Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Project (MATIP) with funding from the African Development Bank.
The government, on four occasions, extended the deadline for the completion of the market after the contractor, Roko Construction, failed to meet the agreed deadline. The project manager for Roko, Stuart Kasibante, attributed the delays to the change in market design, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the delay in receiving payments.
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