Ishmael Bumali, the secretary Sofia charcoal traders, says that 1,992 traders who were operating in the new market have shunned the business and scattered to different places within Busia town due to low demand and rampant operations by Uganda Revenue Authority- URA targeting them.
1,000 traders have deserted the newly gazetted charcoal market in Sofia
village, Eastern division of Busia Municipality. On August 16, 2020, Busia
district authorities allocated 2.9-acres of land that was hosting Sofia Market
to the Ministry of Health for the expansion of the Port health facility.
result, the authorities relocated traders, who were operating in the area to Arubaine
market in Arubaine village. The authorities also moved over 2000 traders involved
in the booming charcoal business from the no man’s land to one and a half acre
piece of land within Sofia village.
the traders say the re-location of their businesses and the wake of the COVID-19
pandemic disorganized everything. This prompted some of the traders to leave
the market, saying Kenyan traders were no longer coming to the market.
Ishmael Bumali, the secretary Sofia charcoal
traders say that 1,992 traders who were operating in the new market have
shunned the business and scattered to different places within Busia town due to
low demand and rampant operations by Uganda Revenue Authority- URA targeting
James Malinzi, the URA Region Manager, says
their enforcement targets charcoal that illegally sold to Kenya through porous
border points. Alex Oligo, who deserted the charcoal business, says he left after
making a loss of 40 bags of charcoal that cost him Shillings 2 million to stock
earlier in November 2020.
According to Oligo, he was expecting a profit of
Shillings 400,000 if he had sold his charcoal to his clients from Kenya at Shillings
60,000 a bag. Faziira Namugaya, Faith Nakiyemba and Joan Mutesi among other
traders, say business has continued to worsen ever since Kenyans stopped coming
to the market. They say it takes over 3 weeks to sell off charcoal in the store
despite reducing the price by 20 per cent.