Traders shun Shs25.4bn Busia market

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Traders shun Shs25.4bn Busia market
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Busia produce dealers have shunned the  shs25.4-billion government market, saying the design and plan of the facility does not suit their businesses.

This has left 333 produce stalls under lock and key ever since 2020.

Constructed under the markets and agricultural trade improvement program, Busia Central Market was commissioned by the government in December 2020 to host over 2000 vendors.

However, the modern market that was purposely constructed to contribute towards the national strategy of prosperity for all is yet to realize its objectives.

The storage facilities with capacity of over 3000 tonnes of grain, has remained redundant with all the 333 stalls under lock and key.

Produce dealers have continued to operate in dusty environments, protesting the market design that they say is not suitable for their business.

"You find that a person dealing in produce is given number 310, 320 in upper floor. There is no way someone can care a bag of maize or a bag of beans up the upper stores. That is the most thing that has affected, " said Richard Wesonga, chairperson Busia produce dealers.

The group argues that the stalls being upstairs, makes it costly for storage of products.

Milly Katamba, one of the produce dealers confessed to Nile Post  how the cost of loading goods inside stores is expensive.

"Loaders ask for about 2000 per each bag they take upstairs yet that is the profit we normally get after selling a bag of maize. Now if you pay that will you remain in business?"

Muhammad Kadoli is yet another produce dealer who has since opted to do his business along streets to him, the entire construction of the market was badly done.

" This market was constructed like arcades not like a market. When you look at how the market was constructed, 90% is not workable" said Kadoli.

These now demand that for the multibillion facility to be fully utilized, the government should think of reallocating the stalls in a manner that can fit all businesses.

"Stalls should be re-allocated so that those dealing in produce are put down and those dealing in items like clothes, source pan put up" said  Wesonga.

The office of the RDC said they are trying to resolve the impasse.

" The issue of the design is above us but its good that the ministry has also noted it and we're waiting for his communications " said RDC Grace Kanuna

With the mess said to be hindering the government commitment towards servicing the loan that was used to construct the market, district security heads are not ready to sit and watch this happen.

"Why should we abandon the market on  our own and again cry that government has not helped us? We're ready to use all our energies to fight those subotaging the government program," Kanuma added.

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