Entebbe. The African Development Bank (AfDB), is ready to extend a loan of at least $84m (Shs283b) towards the construction of 11 new markets in a joint effort with the government of Uganda.
The agreement was reached after the construction of seven markets in the last five years was completed.
Government will contribute $10m (Shs34b) towards the project, which is estimated to cost $94m (Shs320b).
“Because of the success of Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Programme – I (MATIP I) where seven new markets were constructed, we have been able to secure an additional loan for the implementation of phase II,” Mr Adolf Mwesige, the Minister for Local Government, told government officials at the launch of MATIP II last week in Entebbe. The 11 markets will be constructed in the urban centres of Busia, Arua, Soroti, Masaka, Lugazi, Moroto, Entebbe, Mbarara, Tororo, Kasese and Kitgum.
An estimated 32,000 vendors are expected to benefit from the project. These markets will have different features from the seven complete with agro-processing facilities.
According to concept plans seen by the Daily Monitor, agricultural produce like oranges and mangoes can be processed in facilities in these markets. “The project will also link rural markets with the urban areas which are an important step towards creating synergies, value addition, and gainful employment,” Mr Mwesige added.
The loan repayments to AfDB are not on the local governments but part of the broader national debt. Since its inception in 2010, Uganda will have borrowed $142m (Shs480b) from the AfDB for the two market projects According to the AfDB, the second phase of the project will displace between 700 and 2,000 vendors during the first year of construction. Additionally, the vendors will not be compensated for the temporary displacement.
“There will be no involuntary resettlement as a result of the project and, therefore, no compensatory resettlement costs will be incurred. However, since the construction of the new market structures will be undertaken on the current market sites, the movement of vendors to temporary sites will take place during the construction period,” reads an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment of the project by AfDB.
In a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Ministry of Local Government and AfDB, the urban authorities will provide the land where vendors will be resettled until construction is complete.
Performance of last project
The first phase has been riddled with controversy such as the initial refusal by vendors to enter the Wandegeya market, cracks in the Gulu market, and high rental fees at the Mpanga Market in Fortportal, among others. For instance on the sidelines of the MATIP-II launch, one local government official from Gulu told Daily Monitor that the Gulu market also lacked proper drainage facilities especially in the various stalls and no proper garbage disposal facility at the restaurant in the market. It was also in Gulu where the roof was blown off before the market was even commissioned. Dott Services, the contractor at the same time was forced to work on the defects before commissioning.
However, Mr Yasin Sendaula, the national coordinator MATIP project at the Ministry of Local Government, said there was a lot of “sensational reporting by the media”, adding that as a result, there were multiple investigations by the IGG, PPDA, ISO and Office of the Auditor General. He insists the first phase of the project was successful.
“So far, we have seen 14 per cent increment in vendor income and 21 per cent rise in trading of agricultural products in the markets. For the urban authorities, there has been a 33 per cent rise in income generated – from the completed markets – from $1.1m (Shs3.7b) to $1.5m (Shs5b),” he added.
The implementation of the project is now at the evaluation of eleven consultants who will be responsible for design and supervision at the various markets.
According to the African Development Bank, a study conducted revealed that the current markets are poorly managed, dilapidated, overcrowded and overwhelmed market infrastructure. The overall sector goal of MATIP-2 is to contribute to poverty reduction and economic growth in Uganda through enhanced commercialisation of agricultural produce.