Entebbe Municipal Council technocrats have created additional space for 143 vendors inside Kitooro Market. This after 200 vendors complaining of having missed space inside the market, which is located in the heart of Kitooro, Entebbe Municipality.
Kitooro Market is one of the 12 modern markets built under the Markets and Agriculture Trade Improvement Projects -MATIP-2 Program. The program aims to develop and enhance the capacity of the market infrastructure, to induce the production and marketing of agricultural commodities.
The market was completed last year and opened for business mid this year. It was opened after a fifteen-member committee composed of section leaders, Entebbe Municipal Council, and local government ministry officials allocated vendors stalls and lock-up shops.
Samson Ssemakula, the Agricultural Officer at Entebbe Municipal Council, says the Kitooro market was built and designed with space for only 954 vendors who were in the old Kitooro market and the now-closed Lubigi market. He adds that this space was fully occupied by the time the market opened in June.
As a result, Ssemakula, who is also the market master at Kitooro Market, says technocrats with approval from the Town Clerk have created additional space for 143 vendors as they enforce trade order in Kitooro.
The additional space was created by partitioning some of the lock-up shops, putting up stalls and containers in the basement to cater for 'Rolex sellers, chicken and meat roasters among others who usually sell along the roadsides.
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Ssemakula says the 143 vendors will pay shillings 50,000 per month, translating to a monthly total of shillings 3.5 million. As a result, he says the municipal council will generate more revenue from the market at the end of the year, in the range of shillings 700 to 750 million. But the municipal council political wing approved the 2021/2022 annual budget with the projection of collecting shillings one billion from Kitooro Market.
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Some vendors led by Samuel Sseninde, the section leader for butchers, have however criticized the municipal council for distorting the market's structure in its bid to create more space.
"We no longer have a notice board because the space has now been occupied by a stall. We are struggling with the waste collection because shops have been opened in former garbage collection areas," Sseninde says.
Julius Bugendo agrees, saying vendors are dumping waste in the corridors or pathways because there are few dumping points in the market. Bugendo, who sells fresh foods and vegetables, adds that the modifications in the basement have inconvenienced vendors who used to "store their excess stock there."
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Bugendo says the council should also enforce the ban on Kabubu Market, a weekly open market, because it is operated near Kitooro market. Kabubu market vendors deal in fresh food, second-hand items such as clothes and shoes and therefore they compete with Kitooro market vendors who are not allowed to sell on the streets.
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Hajji Njuki Mbabali, the Entebbe Deputy Resident District Commissioner says he will meet technocrats, local leaders and leaders of vendors in Kitooro over the operations of Kabubu Market.
Some vendors led by Teddy Nangobi however say they have not yet got space in the Kitooro market. They are among the over 100 vendors who accused the market leaders and allocation committee of fraudulent space allocation.
Nangobi says she used to sell fresh vegetables in the Lubigi market but has missed a stall in the Kitooro market. She claims the market leaders had asked her to pay 700,000 shillings to get a stall. "I did not have the money. So I did not get a stall."
However, Ssemakula says of the 100 complaints received from vendors over space allocation, 30 remain unresolved. He says these complaints could be resolved by end of this month because they revolve around documentation and verification of whether or not the complainants are vendors or new entrants.