The State Minister for Bunyoro Affairs, Mr Ernest Kiiza, has blocked the implementation of new market dues in Masindi Central Market.
The market vendors went on strike on Monday, protesting the new market dues. The municipal authorities had increased the dues from Shs3,000 for temporary stalls and Shs4,000 for permanent stalls to Shs13,000 and Shs15,000 respectively.
Masindi municipal administration ran radio announcements calling on willing traders to come and take over the stalls.
The traders protested but they were calmed by the district police community liaisons officer, Mr Solomon Mugisa. He told them Minister Kiiza would meet both parties the following day.
On Tuesday, during the meeting at Masindi Stadium, the vendors accused the municipal administration of unfair taxation.
Ms Rose Kasemiire, a trader, said the levies were increased without assessment of their capital and income. Vendors said they were not given opportunity to bid and manage the market.
Mr Kiiza ordered the formation of a committee to look into the traders grievances and assess their business profitability and make recommendations for tax adjustments. The vendors will continue paying Shs3,000 and Shs5,000 respectively until the committee completes its work and new rates are set.
Masindi Mayor Joshua Amanyire accused the Bunyoro Affairs minister of violating the municipal council resolutions and usurping their powers. “Even before we tabled this matter before the council, we went and consulted the Minister of Local Government, Mr Adolf Mwesige for guidance,” Mr Amanyire said.