Kampala — Uganda has finalized plans to start the construction of seven modern markets valued at $47m (about Ush123b) across the country.
The markets to be worked on under the Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Programme (MATIP-1) phase one will be those of Lira and Gulu in Northern Uganda, Mbale and Jinja in Eastern Uganda, Hoima, Mpanga and Wandegeya on the outskirts of Kampala City.
According to Mr. Yasin Ssendaula, the assistant commissioner urban inspection in Uganda's Ministry of Local Government, vendors still occupying some of the markets were requested to start relocating to temporary sites identified by respective urban councils and the Kampala Capital City Authority where feasible. "To facilitate the relocation exercise each vendor is required to sign a memorandum of understanding with the urban council and KCCA detailing the obligation of each party under the re-development of the market," said Ssendaula.
Figures indicate that a total of 14,814 vendors will be temporarily affected by this construction programme, which is expected to start in September this year.
Ssendaula said upon signing, the MoU will allow construction of the markets to start, and will serve as a basis for relocating the vendors to temporary sites. It will also facilitate their return after construction.
The construction of Wandegeya market one kilometre north of the city centre for example will take about two years though the contractors have had an ambitious target of completing construction within a year.
According to the memorandum of understanding, a vendor is defined as a person who owns rents or sub-rents a stand, kiosk, stall, lock-up and any other facility from the council.
The government secured a loan from the African Development Bank and the Arab bank for Economic Development in Africa for the re-development of some of the markets under the MATIP-1.
It is hoped that the development will transform economic infrastructure and service infrastructure.
However, the commencement of the projects might face a huge hiccup, as some vendors have vowed not to vacate the said market construction sites.
"They have to first show us where to go," said a Wandegeya vendor who talked to the East African Business Week about the pending relocation.
Others, however, welcoming the re-development plan.