The newly built multi-million modern market in Lukaya town council in Kalungu district has remained vacant because of the refusal by the vendors to occupy it citing poor workmanship. The vendors who sell vegetables, tomatoes, fish and other fresh foodstuffs are instead operating in their makeshift stalls in front of the new market.
They argue that the new market, which the Local government’s Minister, Raphael Magyezi commissioned in February last was poorly designed hence making it inappropriate for them. Ardinad Ssembuya, the Vice-Chairperson of Lukyaya Roadside Vendors Society, says that the market seats in a low lying area and floods whenever it rains.
He says that besides the poor structural design, the market does not have a proper parking space for their targeted customers who are mainly travellers in transit. Ssembuya says that the vendors shunned the market after they found it inaccessible for their customers and as result, many vendors remained in the old roadside market while a few others chose to return to their makeshift stalls.
He says they notified the town councils authorities about the challenges in the market but nothing was done to address their concerns.
The Shillings 2.9billion market was constructed with funding from the Lake Victoria Environment Management Program-LAVEMP to accommodate at least 200 roadside vendors in Lukaya town council.
Jane Nanyonga, a vegetable dealer says that she was one of the people who had earlier occupied the new market but was forced to abandon the stall since she was no longer getting customers. Nanyonga says that she was prompted to return to her temporary stall along the roadside, which is well-positioned compared to the new market.
She challenges the government to instruct the contractor to redesign the market such that it becomes appropriate for the vendors, saying it may be difficult for the intended beneficiaries to occupy it in its current shape.
Robina Nabadda, another vendor who returned to the roadside, argues that the new market may go to waste if the government fails to improve it to the required standards. She blames the contractor for not consulting them while drawing the designs for the market.
Charles Tamale, the Lukaya Town council LC III chairperson, says that they are considering using their local engineering department to find solutions to the structural gaps in the market such that it doesn’t go to waste.
He says they are also engaging the leadership of the vendors to encourage them to occupy the new market structure as they wait for the improvements.
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