BY RICHARD DRASIMAKU
ARUA: May 27, 2021
The vendors’ wait for a new home has been long but as it draws to a close about 2,000 of them would not get space for their merchandise in the new market.
Nelson Dada, the Arua market vendors’ association chairman said their data base has more than 7,000 registered members yet the new market’s capacity is for 5,012 vendors.
This number corresponds to the number of vendors who used the old market between 2011 and 2015 and signed a memorandum of understanding with the local government ministry that they would be given priority to occupy the modern market.
“The city authority must therefore look for where to accommodate the excess people and stop street vending,” he said.
Dada disclosed that in order to get ready for the imminent shift, 16 of his executive members and key traders from Arua went for a bench marking tour to Gulu and Lira where similar markets were constructed.
“We have seen how our colleagues in Gulu and Lira are managing their markets. We were not impressed by many things we found but we are eager to move to ours and start utilizing it,” he told the www.westniletodaynews.com
Some of the disappointing findings were poor lighting and drainage systems, poor zoning and improper allocation of stalls and lockups in which politicians and civil servants allegedly snatched away stalls from legitimate vendors.
“We don’t want to see such a situation in Arua. When the old market was demolished it was us vendors’ leaders who allocated space for our members in the temporary structure, so, we can also do the same in the modern market,” Dada said.
According to the Arua City commercial officer, Jobel Ayiko, the construction works have been completed and the city council is only waiting for communication from the local government ministry to unlock the doors of the market.
The sh34.9b market is one of the 21 markets constructed under the markets and agricultural trade improvement project (MATIP) with loan funding from the African Development Bank.
In October last year, President Yoweri Museveni launched the value addition component of the market that he estimated would enable farmers and traders from West Nile to reap sh15b income annually.
The Arua market was constructed by Sadeem Al-Kuwait construction company in partnership with the Dott-services under the supervision of Joadah Consults LTD.
Unlike Gulu where a generator that consumes 28 litters of fuel per day is used to light the market, the Arua market is fitted with solar power for operating most public utilities like cold rooms for storage of fresh foods and vegetables.
There is also a solar powered water pumping system specifically for the market, independent of the National Water and Sewerage corporation system and translucent iron roofs are used to ensure that most of the day-to-day activities are done under natural light conditions.
The new market has 70 CCTV cameras and loud speakers controlled from the office of the chairman of the vendors for easy communication and monitoring of rogue elements.
It has a section for day-care where lactating mother’s can leave their babies with baby-sitters so as to concentrate on business.
“I appeal to the council to train and sensitise the vendors on how to use the new facilities such as the garbage collection system, the power sockets and the toilets before we move in there,” Dada said.