Traders shun Shs24b Moroto main market

Moroto modern market that has remained partially occupied by vendors. PHOTO/SIMON PETER EMWAMU

What you need to know:

  • In April last year, this publication reported that several modern markets constructed by government remained unoccupied. 
  • The markets, constructed under the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) project, are meant to create organisation and proper handling of foodstuffs for a complete chain of food supply.

The multipurpose Moroto market built by government at a cost of Shs24 billion has remained partially empty a year after it was commissioned. 
The government built Moroto Central Market under the Markets and Agriculture Trade Improvement programme (MATIP) with funding from the Arab Bank of Economic Development in Africa (BADEA).

The construction was undertaken by Ambitious Construction Company Limited, which handed over the facility last year.
But many vendors have refused to operate from the market, saying it lacks basic utilities such as power and water.
Moroto municipal council leaders had asked vendors to relocate to the market by the end of last month. However, the vendors have refused to relocate and remain on the streets.
 Mr Mariko Angela, a vendor, told this publication last Friday that they cannot occupy the market because it has no power, and running water.

 “Even the few people who entered that market have since abandoned it,” he said.
 Mr Angela urged the municipal leaders, who are forcing them to work from the market, to be considerate since that some basic utilities needed by the occupants are not in place.
 When contacted, Mr Ismael Mohammed, the municipality mayor, acknowledged that the market lacks some basic utilities.
  “Other cities got better markets at the same cost of Shs24 billion, but ours is not to the standards of other markets, we believe something is not right,” Mr Mohammed added.

 He admitted that their attempts to make the vendors to vacate the roadsides by the end of last month have been futile because of the conditions in the market.
 Mr Yosan Ntarwete, the municipal commercial officer, said three thirds of the market have completely remained empty despite being allocated to traders.
Mr Vincent Okurut, the town clerk, said solving the challenges in the market will depend on cash flows from the central government. 

He added that in the future, the design of the market should be changed if it is to serve its purpose.
“The challenge is all people are struggling for the ground floor, while the upper sections have remained empty,” Mr Okurut said.
 He said the ground floor should be used as parking space and the upper sections for business. 
 The market, which was constructed by Ambitious Construction Limited, has a capacity of 4,000 traders and comprises shops, stalls, toilets, parking and rumps.

National outlook
In April last year, this publication reported that several modern markets constructed by government remained unoccupied.  They were Soroti Main Market,  Nyendo market, Tororo Central Market and Kasese Central Market, among others. However, some of them have since been occupied. The markets, constructed under the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) project, are meant to create organisation and proper handling of foodstuffs for a complete chain of food supply.

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