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Vendors Task Contractor to Expedite Completion of Kitgum Central Market

The contract deadline for the market has now been extended by five more months by the Local Government Ministry till November 30.
Jenny Ajok sells her produce at Akuruke Market in Central Division, Kitgum Municipality.

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A section of vendors in Kitgum Municipality has criticized the delayed completion of Kitgum Central Market in Central Division.

The 23 Billion Shillings modern market under construction by China State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd was to end by July 1st this year, nearly two years after it commenced in June 2019.

However, the contract deadline for the market has now been extended by five more months by the Local Government Ministry till November 30. This follows a request for a time extension the contractor made through the Project consultant SABA Engineering PLC citing covid-19 outbreak, effects of heavy rainfall, and the presence of underground water that delayed work.

Jenny Ajok, a produce vendor at Akurukwe Market in Central Division says that the delayed completion of the multi-billion market will impact negatively her business.

Ajok who was relocated from the market site to pave way for its construction in 2019 says the current temporary market space she occupies with other vendors is small and unconducive for businesses.

She notes that a vendor at the current site has only one-meter space to operate from, limiting them from stocking produce and expanding businesses.

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Ajok adds that the situation has been further worsened by the current heavy rain accompanied by a strong storm, which lifts off the temporary structures leaving vendors exposed to rain.

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Christine Ayikoru another vendor also operating from Akurukwe Market says although the extension is good for full completion of the market, there is a need for the contractor to expedite the construction works to enable them to relocate.

She says the current market has water challenges and lacks facilities such as washrooms and toilets for vendors who have to walk out at the Main bus park access places of convenience. 

“By now, we should have been planning for how to occupy the market once it's handed over in July, we shall have to deal with these unbearable conditions again till November,” Ayikoru said. 

Stella Oyella, a produce buyer also shares the similar plight of inconveniences at Akurukwe market where hundreds of vendors are squeezed in small spaces which pose a serious health risk especially for the spread of covid-19.

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Alfred Alexis Abonga, Kitgum Municipal Council Engineer in charge of constructions however notes that he is optimistic the contractor will deliver timely with the contract extended by five more months.

He notes that the project extension will majorly benefit block B which is still on the ground floor adding that Block A which has registered significant progress will be partially completed by July 1.

 Abonga also notes that the contractor has introduced incentives such as bonuses for the casual labourers to ensure high and quality products which will see the contract target hit by November.

The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Local Government, Ben Kamumanya in an April 28 letter addressed to the Managing Director SABA Engineering PLC for approval of contract extension tasked both the project consultant and the contractor to address issues that would impede timely work.

Kitgum Central Market once completed will accommodate over 2,000 vendors.

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