Traders Abandon Market Over High Dues

1360 Views Fort Portal, Uganda

In short
According to the rates that were set by Fort Portal municipal council, traders occupying lock up shops on the ground floor pay 120,000 shillings per month, while those on the first floor are charged 90,000 shillings per month.

More than 30 vendors have abandoned Mpanga Market over high dues. The Ugx 11.3 billion market commissioned last year, is one of the seven markets countrywide that are being rebuilt under the Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Programme (MATIP-1) - a multi-million dollar project supported by the Government and the African Development Bank.
 
According to the rates that were set by Fort Portal municipal council, traders occupying lock up shops on the ground floor pay Ugx 120,000 per month, while those on the first floor are charged Ugx 90,000 per month.  However the traders say they can't afford the rates.
 
Some lockup shops have been abandoned and the traders have sought cheaper space in other markets.
 
Gertrude Mugisa, a trader says that she incurs high transport costs to and from Kampala to purchase merchandise so she can't afford to pay Ugx 120,000. She says that the municipal authorities promised that once the market is opened, the traders will pay lower rates.
 
Patrick Mujuni, a trader says that the vendors' association should have been left to set the rates not the municipal council. He says that some vendors can't raise the rent because they didn't sell anything last month after their shops were closed for renovation when a section of the market developed cracks.
 
The traders through their association, Mpanga Market Vendors Association have now petitioned the local government minister Adolf Mwesige, over the matter.
 
Paul Omoko, the town clerk says that the rent will not be reduced. He says that those who can't afford should leave the market. He explains that the rent from the market is used to pay workers who clean the market.
 
Willy Magezi, the LC3 Chairperson East Division says that reducing the fees will affect the local revenue of the division and affect service delivery since they are supposed to repair some of the roads, construct water sources and markets.
 
On Friday morning municipal law enforcement officers closed shops of some traders who had defaulted, leaving the traders stranded.
 
Fort Portal Municipal Council estimates to collect 1.3 billion shillings in revenue annually from the market. The revenue will be shared between the municipal council and East Division.