Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Ngomoromo market in Lokung sub-county, Lamwo district remains unoccupied six years after it was commissioned.
The market located at Uganda-South Sudan border was constructed in 2012 by Lamwo district local government at a tune of 52 million shillings with funding from the World Bank to ease cross border trade between Uganda and south Sudanese traders.
Obwona Kibwa, the Lokung sub county LCIII vice-chairperson says traders within Ngomoromo village refused to occupy the market because they alleged its located far away from the trading centre with no proper security.
He notes that the civil unrest that broke out in South Sudan in 2013 and 2016 made the market unreliable for trading since majority of south Sudanese across the border fled into Uganda.
According to Kibwa traders have only used the market twice in June and September last year adding that they have retreated to conduct businesses in Ngomoromo trading centre.
Kibwa says the sub-county leadership is currently making efforts to convince traders to utilize the market in a bid to help them raise revenue through business activities.
He notes that some of the market facilities are currently being vandalized since no one is taking good care for the structure built in place.
Ngomoromo market which is currently surrounded by thick bushes has sanitation rooms, toilets, stores and concrete stalls and can accommodate more than 60 vendors.
James Ocen, a trader in Lokung town council says he relocated from Ngomoromo trading centre because the market failed to attract traders as he had anticipated.
“The idea of building the market at the border was brilliant, me and other traders had high hopes of gaining from businesses at the border but ever since it was commissioned, traders from the two countries haven’t embraced it,” Ocen says.
The LCV chairperson, John Komakech Ogwok notes that business at the market was disorganized following influx of the South Sudanese refugees who had been using the same facility as their settlements.
Ogwok says many similar border markets built by government in the district are not being fully utilized citing markets in Palabek Ogili market, Apiriti, Padibe east and Padibe west.
Ogwok says the district is making plans to profile all the markets built by government to ensure that they make informed decision for their revival.
He, however, called on the sub-county leadership to ensure proper functionality and management since the markets are in their custody.
Francis Obalim, the officer in Charge of Ngomoromo police post says uncertain security and unsettled disputes over boundaries between Uganda and South Sudan government along the porous border point has affected trade in the area.
Ngomoromo borders the volatile Ayaci county in South Sudan’s Torit state, parts of which is claimed by South Sudan government. Currently, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Government [SPLA] are occupying areas of Parapdwanya, Apine and Akwera all in Ugandan Territory.