Entebbe traders are up in arms over delayed taxi park and market opening. Two years ago, traders were vacated from Kitooro market and taxi park to pave way for construction and upgrade of the twin projects. At least 1000 kiosk operators in Entebbe municipality had hope that by end of June this year, the taxi park and market would be opened. “Opening the taxi park and market has really delayed. Some of our friends are not working up to now, due to limited space in Kitooro,” Complained Christine Nakungu. She expressed fear that municipal authorities had earlier ordered traders operating in Kiosks, to vacate the street before June ends.
Rebecca Mbabazi who operates a restaurant from Lubigi market says, businesses were affected even before the outbreak of Covid19. “We were evicted from the market to pave way for the upgrade, earlier before Corona outbreak. We were pushed this far where we could not get customers hence end up making losses and worse so, pushed out of business,” narrated Mbabazi.
According to Charles Magumba the municipality town clerk, the plan to construct Kitooro park was in two phases, where the first phase is done. “However, the delay for a second phase arose because we had to go through design approvals plus a new procurement process,” explained Magumba.
For the case with Kitooro market, the municipal town clerk contends that, the 320 workers who are supposed to engage in construction, were scaled down to only 50 specialised personnel. “The current slow pace of construction works, has not only affected traders, but the municipality’s revenue collection as well.
“This has created a budget shortfall of Sh3.2b than the earlier estimated Sh7.4b which was expected to be collected from local revenue,” stated Magumba.
Meanwhile, the municipality mayor Vincent Kayanja pointed out the ongoing construction works such as building the information centre, council perimeter wall, Busambaga road and fencing Banga playground saying, such projects are still ongoing because they had already been sanctioned and money paid.
Construction of Kitooro market commenced in March 2018 and was expected to be complete in May. Similarly, the second phase of Entebbe taxi park was expected to be complete by December this year with 226 units. Under Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development Programme (USMID), first phase of the park is complete, at a cost of Sh7.2b. According to Magumba, the second phase which is expected to add two floors onto the park complex, is estimated to cost Sh5b.
Entebbe municipal council was affected in terms of local revenue collection during the period when these two projects kicked off. “We used to collect about Sh300m annually, from the taxi park and about Sh3m monthly from tenants operating within the same park, and Sh300m from the market every year,” Kayanja remarked. The mayor is optimistic that upon the completion of the two projects, about Sh90m is expected to be collected every month from the market and Sh60m from the park.
In 2013 the World Bank Board approved an International Development Association (IDA) credit of US$150 million to finance urban infrastructure and improve service delivery in 14 municipalities in Uganda. The six-year project is to expand urban infrastructure, and enhance the capacity of the 14 municipal local governments to generate own source revenues, improve urban planning, and strengthen financial management, procurement, environmental and social systems.
Seyani International Co. Ltd was awarded the contract for the market construction while UB Consulting engineers & Scafford contractors, were charged with construction of the taxi park in Entebbe municipality.