Arua, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Traders in Arua central Market in Arua city have declined to pay market dues for the past five months until the authorities evict roadside vendors and those operating in undesignated markets.
According to the agreement with the city authorities, the vendors in the central market are supposed to pay between UGX 5,000 to 20,000 monthly for the stalls and between UGX 100,000 to 300,000 for lockups depending on the location.
However, the vendors say they unanimously resolved not to pay the money until the Minister for Local government, Raphael Magyezi together with Arua city pronounce themselves on the people operating on the roadsides and other undesignated markets.
Nelson Dada, the Arua Market Vendors Association chairperson general explains that ever since they relocated to the market in January this year, vendors inside the market hardly make any profits because their customers prefer buying from those operating along the streets. He says the vendors will not pay any dues to the City council as long as other vendors continue to operate illegally on the various streets.
“We have not been making profits since the streets are flooded with items that are inside in the market. Customers now prefer buying from the streets as opposed to the market. The minister should pronounce himself on the matter before we can begin paying the dues,” noted Dada.
Moses Adriko, the Secretary for finance planning and administration says that the city is choking with unpaid utilities in the market since the vendors have not been paying the dues. He further expressed fears that the market risk operating without the utilities if the matter is resolved.
During his visit on 20th and 21st July this year, the minister for Local government, Raphael Magyezi ruled that the current status of the main market and vendors operating on the streets and other undesignated markets in the city be maintained until an investigation is carried out over the allocation of stalls. Although the investigation report by the Office of the Resident City Commissioner has been submitted to his office, the minister has not made pronouncements over the matter.
Sam Wadri Nyakua, the Arua city Mayor says that their hands are tied since the minister has not yet declared his position about the Arua market saga.
But, Ceaser Draecabo, the President of Arua city development forum notes that the vendors have a case since their sales have been greatly affected by roadside vending. He however calls for the city authorities to expeditiously handle the matter.
Arua Main market was constructed with funds from African Development Bank at a tune of Shs34.9 billion under the second phase of the Market and Agricultural trade improvement program (MATIP II).
Over 780 hundred stalls and lockups have remained unallocated in the newly constructed market due to the unresolved conflicts.