JINJA. Vendors in the newly constructed Shs28 billion Jinja Central Market are counting losses after their merchandise was soaked by rain water last Friday as a result of a leaking roof.
The traders said the leakage resulted in flooding of sections of the building. The market was commissioned by President Museveni on November 17, 2014 and opened to the vendors in February.
Vendors said water seeped through stores causing extensive damage to merchandise, including sugar, rice, maize flour and beans. The losses suffered are estimated to be in millions of shillings.
“I am finished. I don’t know what to do now. My entire stock was purchased using a loan from a micro finance body. What do I tell them now? They will just imprison me,” lamented Hajati Masitula.
She said she lost goods worth Shs1.5 million. The vendors spent most of last Saturday morning clearing the market of the water. The discovery of the damaged roof comes after massive cracks were seen in parts of the market walls.
It was constructed with funding from the African Development Bank (ADB) the under Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Programme (MATIP- 1).
Jinja Resident District Commissioner Richard Gulume and the mayor, Mr Muhammad Baswari Kezaala, who toured the market and addressed the traders, said it is high time government put the contractors, Ms Vambeco to task to explain the defects on the market.
“Less than two weeks ago we wer to see the massive cracks on the structure. Now we ar only to find that the market is leaking and there is no drainage to mitigate effects of flooding yet billions of shillings were spent here. The contractors surely must provide an explanation for this,” said Haji Kezaala.
Mr Kezaala and Mr Gulume called on the town’s physical planning committee, Parliament and the Ministry of Local Government to expeditiously evaluate the work on the market lest traders lose their lives.
“We want Ms Vambeco Enterprise and other responsible bodies to come and forge a way forward because vendors might run away. We also need to protect their lives,” Mr Gulume said.
Efforts to reach the director of Vambeco Enterprises, Mr Budget Mugabiirwe, proved futile. His mobile phone went unanswered all weekend.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor