By Moses Agaba
The Kabale Municipal Council is grappling with significant challenges in providing services at Kabale Central Market due to a revenue loss amounting to Ugx 865 million.
Mayor Sentaro Byamugisha says that the council is facing difficulties settling bills for electricity and water, raising concerns about potential disconnections by service providers.
The revenue setback is attributed to a directive from the Minister of Local Government, Raphael Magyezi, who halted the collection of revenue until a transparent reallocation of stalls was conducted.
Since January of the previous year, the municipal council has been unable to collect revenue from Kabale Central Market as traders assumed control.
Mayor Byamugisha expressed the broader impact of the revenue loss, highlighting the council’s inability to fund essential services and programs.
The annual expenditure of Ugx 50 million for fueling the garbage collection truck at the market further strains the council’s financial resources.
In response to the revenue challenges, Mayor Byamugisha outlined measures being taken to address immediate concerns.
The construction of additional ladders for easy access to lock-up shops has been initiated to accommodate approximately 200 shops, aiming to enhance the market’s functionality.
Canon Joshua Mutekanga The chairperson of the vendors association at Kabale Central Market, , acknowledged the council’s efforts to maintain a conducive working environment despite financial constraints.
Mutekanga cited cleanliness, adequate security lights, and CCTV cameras installed for traders’ safety as commendable aspects of the market’s management.
Minister Raphael Magyezi, when contacted, stated that he awaits written communication from Kabale Municipal Council to update him on the market’s progress before addressing outstanding issues.
The minister’s directive to halt revenue collection was part of a broader response to allegations of corruption during the registration and relocation of vendors, prompting the formation of a special committee for investigation.
The construction of Kabale Central Market commenced in December 2019, funded by a USh23 billion loan secured by the central government from the African Development Bank through the Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvements Project (MATIP).
The Chinese company Chongqing International Construction, contracted for the project, completed the new market premises in December 2022.
The relocation of vendors to the new market was initiated on January 10, 2023, and concluded after two weeks.
Subsequently, Minister Magyezi formed a special committee to investigate corruption allegations surrounding the registration and relocation process, leading to the suspension of tax collection from Kabale Central Market traders for the duration of the investigation.