Friday January 17 2014

Traders shun Shs8 billion market in Kasese

A trader with her goods on the ground.

A trader with her goods on the ground. Several traders have abandoned stalls in the Lhubiriha marker at the Mpondwe border post in Kasese District. PHOTO BY THEMBO KAHUNGU 

By Enid Ninsiima & Thembo Kahungu

Kasese- Traders in Kasese District have shunned a multi-billion shillings market that was built for them by the district local government with funding from the Belgium Technical Corporation (BTC).

The market is located in Mpondwe-Lhubiriha border market. Three months after it was officially opened and handed over to the district authorities, traders have abandoned the facility, protesting the high market charges.

Phase one of the market consists of 480 stalls that was put by BTC under its programme of poverty alleviation.

Ms Yeresi Kabugho, a vegetable trader, said it is cheaper for her to sell her goods by the roadside than putting tomatoes on a stall that requires her to spend a lot. “I only pay market dues when I am here compared to Shs31,000 rental charges which I’m charged when I go into the market,” Ms Kabugho said.

The Kasese District chairperson, Lt Col (rtd) Mawa Muhindo, said it was a shame for the donors to find food being sold on the ground just three months after the commissioning of the market.
“I am going to investigate the matter and anyone involved will be personally held responsible. We shall not leave our people to suffer simply because we have failed to put into good use the facility,” Lt Col Muhindo warned.

However, the town clerk Mpondwe-Lhubiriha Town Council, Ms Eva Biira, said of the 482 stalls, 400 are occupied by the traders, adding that there were 82 people who applied for the stalls with a view of renting them out to the traders.

These stalls have not been occupied since.
She said the charges were formerly at Shs31,000 but it was revised by the traders themselves to Shs21,000.