The long awaited construction of a regional market at the Uganda-Tanzania border has started to take shape, causing excitement among both traders and local leaders.
The Mutukula regional market, which is funded by South African-based Degitech Energy Company Ltd at Shs2.8 trillion, is expected to bring together manufacturers, retailers, distributors and consumers from all over East Africa.
According to Mr Karim Karamagi, the chief executive officer of Rural United Small Business Association Network (RUSBA), they have secured some funds and decided to start construction works.
"This work had been planned to start earlier but the Covid-19 pandemic disorganised everything. We had to take our time and now that we have got some funds and lockdown has partially been lifted, we have decided to start construction works," Mr Karamagi said during an interview yesterday.
The market is being constructed in Kasanvu Village on Kyotera-Mutukula road.
It will be operating every Tuesday and Friday and will also have a livestock yard where animals such as sheep, goats and cattle will be kept temporarily for slaughter and sale on the local and international markets.
Mr Karamagi further said they managed to secure about 200 acres of land, which were leased to them by Kyotera District Local Government, and they are sure the all the structures will be accommodated there.
He, however, said a temporary space is yet to be created for traders to begin business as construction goes on.
"The temporary space is going to be used by mainly traders from the neighbouring countries with products, including livestock," Mr Karamagi added
He said markets such as Kapenguria, Makutano, Kacheliba, and Looro Market in Kenya, Ariwara Market in Congo and Bunazi in Tanzania are expected to work closely with that at Mutukula.
Mr Karamagi further said government has promised to give them tax exemption agreements to cushion traders from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A five-star hotel is also expected to be constructed at the site, according to Mr Karamagi, so as to ease traders' work in the area. The market project comes at a time when government is also in the process of rehabilitating and expanding the Masaka- Kyotera -Mutukula road.
The project is to be funded by the African Development Bank under the New Partnership for Africa's Development programme of the African Union. According to the Uganda National Roads Authority, the road has been prioritised for expansion because it links the central corridor to the northern corridor transit routes.