Mbarara, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Mbarara city council Authority has lost 600 million shillings for the financial year 2020/21 due to the delay to finalize the construction Central Market.
The 21 billion Shilling construction of the Mbarara central Market started in February 2018 and was expected to be completed in January 2020. However, this has been extended three times since the contractor failed to deliver in February 2020 the due date.
The delay has now entered its third year since the contract was extended to February 2021. The construction of the market was awarded to Roko Construction Company Limited
The about 1,000 Vendors that used to operate from the central Market located along Buremba Road was placed temporarily at Independence Park along the Kabale Road on 1st July 2017 to pave way for constructions.
The Mbarara City Council Deputy Clerk, Richard Mugisha, says the delay has now cost them a lot of funds that would have helped develop the city. He says because the conditions at the independence park are not all that conducive they suspended the daily taxing of the vendors.
“You know the market was owned by the council and We were getting a lot of money from for example rent we used to collect more than 500 million every year and also the vendors were paying other daily dues it was tendered out and we had projected 100 million per year from taxes.
Mugisha says the city local revenue has decreased from 8 billion shillings to around 6.9 billion shillings since all sources that surrounded the central market like Taxi/Bus park used to feed to and from the market.
Apart from the costs, Mugisha says where the vendors are temporarily located now at independence park has another project under Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) projects menu to design and beautify it. He says the delay to complete the construction has also affected the USMID project.
Nyombi Muhammad, the chairperson of Mbarara Central Market Vendors Association says they have also lost a lot of their business capital as customers have dwindled with time.
He says they refused to pay taxes because their sales have decreased since they are facing competition from street vendors and hawkers who refused to settle in the market.
Enock Katambara, a vendor agrees that they don’t pay taxes but only pay garbage collection feeS which they are also failing to pay because people have abandoned the market.
Nyombi now wants the government to ask the contractor to compensate them for all the lost time and sales. However, Mugisha says before compensation is done a lot is needed to be undertaken especially on the issues causing the delay.
He says the delay in these circumstances has to be agreed upon depending on the reasons given by all the stakeholders and the provisions in the contract where the contractor is unable to finish within the stipulated time what happens and that’s why the life of the contract is renewed.
Raphael Magyezi, Minister local government earlier said that they are looking at whether to extend the contract again since the last extension of January 2021 has also expired.