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Masaka Vendors Protest Delays to Complete UGX 18B Market

Frank Tumwebaze, the Chairperson on Masaka Market Vendors Cooperative says that the failure by the contractors to complete and hand over the market has frustrated vendors, who are tired of operating in open space.
The Incomplete Masaka Market Structure, which the vendors want to occupy in its current form.
Market vendors are threatening to occupy the incomplete Masaka Central Market.

In February 2018, the Ministry of Local government under the second phase of the Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Program-MATIP II contracted Multiplex and Alshamas, joint venture contractors, to do major repairs on Masaka Central market at 18.5 Billion Shillings.

The new three-storied market was supposed to be completed in November 2019. 

Frank Tumwebaze, the Chairperson on Masaka Market Vendors Cooperative says that they are tired of waiting for a project whose completion is at a slow pace.

He argues that the failure by the contractors to complete and hand over the market has frustrated vendors, who are tired of operating in open space.

Tumwebaze argues that despite the repeated extension of the project contract by almost two years, the contractors have failed to deliver on the assignment, saying that it is high time the vendors moved in to occupy the existing structure.

At the moment, the new market structure has been roofed and the contractor is now painting it before constructing the shades, the lockups, and stalls on the ground floor.

However, Tumwebaze argues that given their pace of execution of the project, the remaining work may take the contractor another year to complete the market.

“You may want to recall that all other markets contracted under MATIP II program were completed and already commissioned as required. We, therefore, seek immediate intervention in the matter such that we are relieved of the bad working conditions at the current market site,” the petition to the city authorities partly reads.

Tumwebaze has asked the Masaka City authorities to compel the contractor to deliver the market before the next rainy season, or else the vendors will move to occupy the market in its current state.

Betty Nakayiza, one of the affected vendors of Masaka Central Market explains that the government assured them that they would occupy the market after one and half years of construction, but to their disappointment, the market has delayed, and contractors have not been penalized.

Florence Namayanja, the Masaka City Mayor says she recently wrote to the Ministry of Local Government requesting to take necessary action.

Hassan Musana, the project site engineer attributes the delays to the slow procurement process of materials and the Covid-19 outbreak which affected their workers.

 He has called upon the vendors to remain calm, saying that they do not want to compromise the quality of works just because of the time limitations, adding that the project will be completed soon.