KAMPALA. The planned redevelopment of St Balikuddembe Market, commonly known as Owino, has not taken shape, a decade later.
Plans to redevelop the market started in 2008, but have since stalled.
Vendors at St Balikuddembe Market blame the delayed redevelopment of the market on alleged government’s failure to fund the project.
While other market projects such as Wandegeya and Busega were completed the government under Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Project funded by African Development Bank (AfDB), the planned Owino market redevelopment project is a purely private initiative being speared by vendors themselves.
Leaders say savings from individual vendors could not raise the required Shs1.2 trillion for the project.
The ground-breaking for the first phase of the project had been planned to take place on January 15, 2016, but this has not happened.
Mr Adams Kakuba, the secretary general of the traders governing body of St Balikuddembe Market Stalls, Space and Lockup Shops Owners Association (SSLOA), said during an interview on Wednesday that they needed support from the government to redevelop the market.
“Had we also been supported financially like some markets or individuals who receive government support in their businesses, redevelopment of this market could have started long ago,” Mr Kakuba said.
Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde yesterday told Daily Monitor that there were government plans to support the traders. “But I can’t give you specifics now. Please crosscheck with KCCA.’ she said by telephone.
However, the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) spokesperson, Mr Peter Kaujju, said the only assistance they can extend to vendors is to approve their building plan since the market is privately owned.
“St Balikuddembe Market is entirely a private market. That is the reason why we don’t collect dues from the vendors. Nonetheless, government has and will continue giving traders technical guidance in terms of plan approvals. Let them look for their own funders and redevelop their market,” he said.
Mr Kakuba called upon vendors to resume individual contributions to repay a loan they secured from dfcu Bank.
The bank had threatened to attach and sell land belonging to Owino Market vendors to recover a more than Shs4 billion loan.
The three-acre land, which dfcu Bank wanted to auction comprises Block 12, Plot 1081 and Plot 1339 in Mengo, Kisenyi. It was bought by the vendors with the intention of accommodating them during the planned redevelopment of the market.
Mr Kakuba said they have secured a $330 million loan (about Shs1.2trillion) from an international credit facility, adding that redevelopment would begin soon.
The loan, according to Mr Kakuba, will be repaid in a period of 25 years.
He declined to name the financier.He said a memorandum of understanding has already been signed and the key terms include an initial four-year grace period that will see commencement and completion of construction endorsed.
“We also agreed that repayment will then begin in the fifth year of the project and will last 21 years,” he said.
The construction plan has two phases: resettlement of traders from the current premises to allow vacant space to constructors and the actual construction. The market land, which is about 10 acres, is located on Plots 24, M34, 20A-22A and 77B, Nakivubo Place.
According to the architectural plans, the facility will be developed into a 13-storied market with a capacity of 14,000 shops and lockups and a reserved floor free of partitions for people who can’t afford renting lockups.
After its completion, the market will accommodate at least 40,000 vendors, double the number that it currently holds.
In the resettlement space, at least 4,000 stalls will be constructed, according to Mr Kakuba. Vendors who will not be accommodated in the new space will be relocated to USAFI Market and nearby arcades.
Currently, a section of vendors operate in filthy conditions in open spaces within the market area braving the scorching sun and heavy rain.
Owino Market was established in 1971 when Kampala City Council, which later changed to Kampala Capital City Authority, relocated 320 vendors from Nakasero Market.
Initially, the Kampala City Council named it the Municipal Market, but the vendors later changed it to Owino Market after an elderly man whom they found in the area selling roasted maize and sweet potatoes.