Multi-million market project nears completion in Zombo

Construction of 30 lockup shops at Paidha central market Paidha town council Zombo district is to be handed over to council leadership In two weeks’ time thanks to the Government of Uganda through a development initiative for northern Uganda with funding from the European Union/ United nation capital development fund under Uganda’s local government excellent fund grant.

Initially, the construction work that is being undertaken by Whimsy Uganda Limited company, at a tune of 343.6 million Ugandan shillings was to be for a three months grace period but has been extended due to some logistical challenges, and currently, the work progress is at 97% according to DINU focal point person in Zombo district Moses Openjuru.

Openjuru adds that the market used to generate local revenue of 200 million shillings per anum and once the new structure is commissioned, the council’s local revenue from the market alone will increase to 272 million Ugandan shillings per anum and will also provide conducive business ground for traders.

“Once completed apart from conducive business ground, the local revenue will increase for the council because the market attracts traders from different districts of the west Nile subregion, northern Uganda and some parts of south Sudan, and the eastern part of DR.Congo due to its richness in food products like matooke, dry cassava, beans, groundnuts, avocados, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes amongst others.

Dubbed as the food basket of the Northern region, Paidha central market situated in Awinjiri village central ward Paidha town council is 2.5 km away from the DR.Congo Uganda border. It was established by Paidha town natives in the 1950s and became under town authority in 1994. But for long traders have been operating under harsh conditions in the wooden dilapidated structure that includes licking roofs, rats infestation, and collapsing blocks from the muddy structure amongst others yet the market is a major local revenue source for Paidha town council with per anum revenue collection projection of 200 million Ugandan shillings.

The LC3 chairperson of Paidha town council Innocent Godfred Onega appealed to the government and  Development partners to speedy work on the market noting that, for the past three months, the council has lost a lot of revenue from the premises.

“We commend government and development partners for this wonderful work that changed the face of our market, However, we appeal for the speedy completion of the market because, for the past months, we really lost a lot of local revenue there” Onega Said.

The LCV chairperson of Zombo district James Oruna Oyullu commends the government and development partners for the great support for the district when they lobbied for it.

Oyullu additionally appealed for more support and funding from government and development partners to change the whole face of the muddy structure that covers a greater part of the lucrative revenue source for the council.

” We thank you for this support that came at a time we really needed it the most. However from the front, it looks good but if you go behind the market section, it’s terrible. we call for more support to change the whole market face” Oyullu Said.

The chairperson Paidha market vendors association Jerose Acikani has also stressed the need for speedy completion citing an example of “many traders operating under harsh weather Conditions as the place is currently receiving heavy downpours”.

” Upon completion of the structure, those who use to operate in the old structure overtaken by the current new structure should be accorded space so long as they can afford “, the chairperson of Zombo entrepreneurship association and also the Chairperson of Paidha business community Agrey Odong has noted.

The Paidha town council engineer Jacob Mwesigwa explained that the pavement in front of the market will be completed In two weeks’ time  such that the structure can be commissioned 

Paidha central market has a total of 507 vendors and once the new structure is commissioned, the number of vendors is expected to increase to around 800_ 1000  thus improving income and local revenue collection according to Zombo district leadership.

The poor state of roads used by traders who come to the market weekly from different parts of the District and other parts of the region posed a great challenge and the Deputy RDC of Zombo district Grace Atim has rallied development partners to support government In constructing roads In the region as well to boost trade.

” This market attracts traders from all over northern Uganda but the challenge is most roads leading to the market are in sorry states. we appeal for Assistance from development partners and government”
 Atim stressed.

With support from development initiatives for northern Uganda and development partners, the Zombo district local government has been able to benefit from different programs like local revenue enhancement programs amongst others in which a total of 113.3 million Ugandan shillings was injected to build the capacity of local revenue collectors.

The deputy head in the office of the united nations capital development fund under DINU Joel Mundua offered assurance for the continued programs in the district.

” We thank Zombo district leadership for the corporation ever since this market project started last year. I reiterate our commitment to ensuring the continued implementation of DINU-supported programs in the district”.

The DINU program coordinator for northern Uganda and regional coordinator in the office of prime minister Beatrice Arach said  ” The president of Uganda has been pushing for the special program through the office of the prime minister to ensure the gap is bridged as can be evidenced by some of the projects like this market”

During the inspection of the ongoing progress, The state minister of northern Uganda Grace freedom kwiocwiny urged technocrats to keenly monitor government programs and also called upon the contractor to finalize the work as soon as possible so that it’s officially handed over to the intended beneficiaries.

By Mike Rwothomio