Lira, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Power distributor Umeme has allowed vendors in Lira main market to install individual yaka meters. The move is aimed at solving the problem of accumulated power bills since each vendor will be responsible for paying for their individual power consumption. Lira main market has been operating without power for the last two years since the city council which is responsible for the utilities failed to pay for the electricity. The city has been clearing the power bill in instalments.
However, the town clerk wrote to the Umme Lira branch manager requesting them to permit the vendors to install personal meters in their lockups. Umeme cleared the proposal on condition that the city council clears the pending bill worth over Shillings 9 million.
Richard Okello, the Lira city commercial officer explained that the city council is struggling to clear the bill to pave way for the sub metering amidst the challenge of local revenue collection. He says individual vendors will bear the cost of installation, saying the vendor may remove the equipment anytime they decide to quit the market.
Steven Oweka, a vendor in livestock drugs is excited about the development, saying he will be able to make big sales because he will be able to operate till late when he has power.
Mohammed Baros Odongo, a butcher in the market believes that installing yaka will boost their business because they will be able to preserve their products for long at their own cost.
Similarly, Emmanuel Okello, another vendor in the market argues that having each vendor meet his or her electricity cost is the best move because they will be responsible to pay for it.
In 2015, when the Shilling 28 billion Lira market was officially opened, the responsibility of paying for the water and electricity bill remained with the then municipality. However, due to low revenue and failure by the vendors to pay operational costs, the power bill accumulated to around Shillings 38M leading to disconnection. However, when the city council took over, management started clearing the bills.