Contractors Finally Hand over Masaka Central Market

The companies that were contracted to upgrade the Masaka Central Market have finally handed over the project for use by the vendors.

The 18.05 billion Shillings modern market was constructed under the second phase of the Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Program-MATIP II, which was funded by a loan from the African Development Bank-ADB. The three-storied market has 761 stalls and 89 lockups.

The construction works which began in February 2018 were planned to end in November 2019. But the works dragged on even after four extensions sparking repeated complaints from vendors who in July last year, attempted to forcefully occupy the partially constructed market structure in protest.

Now, the contractors led by the Site Manager Engineer Moses Bbosa Ndege have finally handed over Masaka Central Market to the Ministry of Local government and Masaka City Council. In his handover report, Bbosa attributed the delay in the completion of the market to the COVID-19 lockdowns that affected their manpower capacity, changes in the structural designs, and the rainy season that threatened the stability of the foundation.

Eng. Bbosa added that they did not want to rush the project because this would compromise the quality of their work and eventually their credibility as a local contractor who was undertaking such a big project under MATIP. He appealed to the Ministry of Local Government and benefiting urban councils to avoid frustrating local contractors arguing that it curtails the growth of the country’s internal capacities to execute bigger projects.  

Masaka City Clerk Geoffrey Bemanyisa says the completion of the market has been long overdue and adds that it is going to relieve them of the immense pressure from the vendors who have been yearning to occupy the new structures.   

He says that after the completion and handover, the City council is directly going to relocate the vendors who have been operating under makeshift stalls that were set up in the children’s park. Bemanyisa is optimistic that the new structure will solve the street vending puzzle in Masaka.

Eng. Emmanuel Mwebaze, the Commissioner for Market Infrastructure Development at the Ministry of Local Government says the Ministry’s technical and supervising teams engaged the contractors and gave them up until the beginning of this year to hand over the project. 

Frank Tumwebaze, the Chairperson of Masaka Market Vendors Cooperative says that they have been eagerly waiting to occupy the market because of the deplorable working conditions in the current makeshift stalls.

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