Vendors Protest Rental Charges in Gulu Modern Market

4351 Views Gulu, Uganda

In short
The vendors claim the charges are too high compared to their earnings. They want the rates reduced to between 100,000-150,000 Shillings for lockups and between 6,000-10,000 Shillings for stalls. The market has 1,050 stalls and 474 lock up shops.

Vendors in the refurbished Gulu modern market are protesting the monthly rental charges for both lockups and stalls saying they are exorbitant.

Gulu Municipal Council authorities set the charges at 200,000 Shillings for lockup shops in strategic positions, 150,000 Shillings in fairly strategic positions and 15,000 Shillings for stalls.

But the vendors claim the charges are too high compared to their earnings. They want the rates reduced to between 100,000-150,000 Shillings for lockups and between 6,000-10,000 Shillings for stalls. The market has 1,050 stalls and 474 lock up shops.

Muto-ono Palajur, one of the vendors in the market says he has so far invested 1 million Shillings from October last year but had not raised even half of it from his accumulated sales. He says they have jointly resolved not to make payments until the rates are revised.
 
//Cue in: "unresolved issues.........................
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Irene Lakica, another vendor states that initially, the highest amount paid in the market was 100,000 Shillings before the market was modernized. But with the new charges, she was forced to rent a stall of 15,000 instead of the lockup shops.

She says the market also charges about 2000 Shillings on every sack of produce entering the market, an approach which is increasing their operational costs. She called on the Municipality to review the market charges or people would seek for outside markets.

John Oola, the Deputy Town Clerk Gulu says that they will consider forwarding the concerns of the vendors in the Gulu Municipal Council for review.

Attempts to speak to Geoffrey Opiyo, the chairman Gulu market vendors association was futile as he could not pick up his phone.

The re-development of the 28 billion Shillings market was undertaken by the Government of Uganda with support from the African Development Bank under the Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Programme (MATO-I) Project in the Ministry of Local Government.

Two months after occupying the market, the vendors had accumulated more than 25.6 million Shillings in unpaid utility bills. This included 11.984 million Shillings owed to power service providers and 4.3 million Shillings owed to National Water and Sewerage Corporation.
 

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.