Mbarara. Reconstruction of the Shs21 billion Mbarara market is on course, donors have said.
The redevelopment of the market, which started in February, is expected to be completed in two years.
However, the African Development Bank (ADB), who are funding the market alongside government, said they are impressed with the progress of the works so far.
The redevelopment of the market is being done by Roko Construction Company Ltd.
During a tour of the market last week, the ADB agricultural and rural development specialist, Mr Asafu Nuwagira, the national coordinator for Markets Agriculture Trade Improvement Programme (MATIP) in the Ministry of Local Government, Mr Geofrey Ettedu, and Mbarara Municipal Council officials said there is evidence of work on the ground.
The contractor has so far worked on bases for all the columns and slabs for the basement.
“We are impressed with the work done, it is on course. You can even finish in a year instead of the two years,” Mr Nuwagira told Roko officials.
The market is being built on plots 2 to 4 on Mbaguta Street in Mbarara Town.
Mr Nuwagira added that completing the work ahead of schedule is good for the government, vendors and the contractor.
“The vendors are not paying taxes because of the poor conditions in their current location. Therefore, we request that the contractor puts in more efforts to finish the construction even in a year,” he added.
More than 700 vendors relocated to Mbarara Independence Park where they are operating from temporary structures to pave way for the reconstruction of the market.
New markets are also being constructed in Arua, Soroti, Tororo, Busia, Lugazi, Moroto, Masaka, Kasese and Entebbe.
MATIP aims at improving the livelihood of vendors in urban areas.
Mr Ettedu says each market is expected to be completed within a period of 24 months but Mbarara could be completed earlier if the contractor maintains the pace.
“Though it is our prayer that they finish before 24 months, quality is paramount; we emphasise that. At the moment, I see value for money because I have looked at the type of materials, the kind of iron bars which they are using and I am satisfied so far,” he said.
Mbarara Town Clerk Edward Lwanga added: “I am impressed by the works despite some challenges such as a lot of rain. I commend the contractor and my prayer is that they speed up and finish the work even before (planned) time.”
He added that vendors have refused to pay taxes because they are not making money from their current location.
The chairman Mbarara Central Market Vendors Association, Mr Mohammed Nyombi, said some of the traders have closed their businesses.
“As vendors we are very eager to come back to the market. Since we relocated to Independence Park, we are not selling because the place is far from the town (centre) and we have refused to pay the taxes despite the council attempting to force us to pay. Some vendors have closed and gone to their homes, waiting for completion of the market,” said Mr Nyombi.