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Vendors shun new Lugazi central market over charges

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Vendors in Lugazi municipality are still hesitant to occupy the newly constructed central market citing high costs.

The 15.8 billion Shillings structure, financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) under the Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Programme Project-2 (MATIP-2) was commissioned by President Yoweri Museveni on December 5th, last year.

The market was built with facilities such as stalls, lockups, saloons, banks, pharmacies and daycare facilities among others. It is designed to accommodate more than 1,500 vendors. But the vendors say that the rent charges fixed by the municipality for those seeking to hire stalls is incredible.

Although they are currently required to pay daily dues of 500 shillings to operate in the market, the new arrangement will require them to part with 30,000 for the small lock-ups on the ground floor and 50,000 Shillings for the upper section every month to manage a stall.

The chairperson of Lugazi Vendors, Christopher Batte told URN that they requested the authorities to reduce the charges to not more than 25,000 Shillings. Batte also notes that they have also requested the municipal authorities to allow vendors to manage the market for the first three months before they accept to start working in the new market. He reveals that currently, they are required to pay shillings 500 though make days without paying.

In other markets constructed across the country under MATIP, vendors pay rent fees ranging from 40,000 to 100,000 Shillings. At Nyendo market in Masaka city, vendors pay 100,000 for the bigger stalls and 40,000 for the small cubic lock-ups on the ground flow.

One of the vendors at Lugazi, Babirye Nakalyoowa says they are willing and interested in occupying the new market but they can’t afford paying beyond what they can save and earn.

Currently, vendors dealing in produce at Lugazi operate in space hired from Uganda Railway and another space at Kinyoro cell for those dealing in retails. However, all these places become filthy whenever it rains.

Another vendor, Sarah Namuddu appeals to the municipality to consider their request of managing the market for the first three months. She notes that fixing charges at this time might land vendors into rent debts. She notes that they are already tired of working in the current market since it is almost located in the outskirts of the town.

The Lugazi Deputy Town Clerk, Nathan Kitakule notes they are still making reviews in various requests put up by the vendors and any time the process is done, they will be making a final communication to the vendors to occupy the market and maintain it well.

“We are now under the process of agreeing on the system of managing the market which is almost done. We want vendors to be comfortable as they are doing their work but above all, offering better services to their customers.” Kitakule says.

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