MASAKA-Masaka City Central Market with over lock-ups and 800 stalls will be officially opened on December 31, to accommodate mostly low income vendors, according to officials.
The African Development Bank [AfDB] funded the Shs 18.4 billion market under the second phase of the Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Programme [MATIP II].
Hassan Musana the project site engineer said the construction works on the central market stand at 99 percent completion, having begun in February 2018.
He said the market also has refrigerated rooms for fish vendors, agro-processing facilities, restaurants, parking yard for loading and offloading goods.
It also has a clinic on the upper floor to provide first aid to vendors in case of any danger, and a childcare centre.
The construction of the market was supposed to be completed by 2021 but was delayed as the contractors made changes in fixing electrical and solar lights among others.
Last week, the minister of Local Government, Raphael Magyezi made a spot-check tour of the market installed with CCTV cameras. The market also has a police post to provide security.
Magyezi said the market would be handed over to the vendors and city authorities at the end of this year to move vendors from Masaka City streets and green spaces.
The old central market constructed in 1936 in the then Masaka township was demolished to pave way for the construction of the new spacious market.
However, Frank Tumwebaze, the chairperson of Masaka Market Vendors Cooperative Society Limited disclosed to minister Magyezi that the city leaders and the rich traders have been allocated space in the new market at the expense of the poor vendors.
In response, Magyezi said that poor vendors would be the first to be allocated space in the market.
”The rich people should remain in their big arcades and supermarkets and let the low income vendors use the facility,” he advised.
He said government has completed the construction of modern markets in 12 cities and still negotiating with funders to construct more 10 markets in the cities and big municipalities in the next financial year.
He also revealed that President Museveni has also directed that the ministry construct modern markets in every division in the cities and municipalities.
”Government is committed to providing space in the modern markets for the low income earners to make a living,” he said.
The minister added that the construction of the markets is linked to the Parish Development [PDM] where beneficiaries [enterprise groups] will supply their commodities like passion fruits, maize, peas, bananas, poultry, and animals to sustain their families.
The chairperson of market vendors, Base Nakayiza said more than 2,000 vendors are in preparations to enter the new market.
”There is no doubt, the vendors who were in the old market will be the first to be considered in acquiring stalls in this modern market,” she said.
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