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Hoima Central Market is attempting to reclaim its former financial grandeur.

Officials claim that revenue from the Hoima Central market has decreased by 80% in the six months since it opened.

Poor market architecture and ‘illegal sellers’ who do not want to pay taxes are mostly to blame for the dropping income.

According to this website, the market is now dealing with arrears of more than Shs 300 million.

The Hoima Central Market was developed with support from the African Development Bank (ADB) under the Markets and Agriculture Trade Improvement Project at a cost of 13.7 billion Shillings.

Vendors spend much of their day seated with no consumers to buy their wares in this multibillion-dollar bazaar.

This affects not only the vendors, but also the Hoima city government, which has seen a significant drop in revenue, which has now dropped by 80%.

“The last time I looked, we had collected roughly Shs 20 million shillings, down from around Shs 80 million,” Brian Kaboyo, the mayor of Hoima City, stated.

Asiimwe Milton, the town clerk for Hoima East Division, where the market is located, attributes the decline in revenue to a number of issues.

“People aren’t paying their rent or other obligations,” Asiimwe remarked.

He claims that lock ups on the upper floors are similarly underutilized because clients do not migrate there. They’ve remained empty for a long time.

Such issues would be simple to resolve, but most traders lack tenancy agreements.

As a result, illegal sellers, whose identities have yet to be revealed but are thought to be politicians and past market leaders, continue to occupy stalls at the market without paying rent.

“From what we’ve heard on the ground, these folks aren’t paying the city and have collected a lot of expenses, but the project (MATIP) doesn’t allow subletting of the stalls,” Kaboyo explained.

As a result of these inconsistencies, the market now owes approximately Shs 30 million in arrears.

“Water bills total more than Shs 24 million, while electrical bills total more than Shs 8 million.” However, we inherited all of these legislation from the previous administration, when people believed the market was a good thing.

The choice not to pay taxes was not made on purpose, according to the merchants.

Darlison Balikagila, a vendor, stated that the license fees are suffocating them, yet they are unable to find customers to buy their wares.

The licensing fees, which range from Shs 60,000 to Shs 100,000, are fair, according to Kaboyo, and will not be reduced until otherwise stated.

However, Hoima city officials are considering granting sellers a two-year tax exemption.

“Given the severity of the pandemic, a waiver would be beneficial to the vendors, though that does not mean the market’s arrears will not be paid.” Kaboyo remarked.

The Hoima central market executive has established a committee to ensure that all legitimate vendors are registered and have signed tenancy agreements in place.

According to the auditor general’s report, the combined annual revenues of the seven markets reconstructed under the MATIP project in Fort Portal: Hoima Central Market, Jinja Central Market, Gulu Central Market, Mbale Central Market, Wandegeya Central Market, Lira Central Market, and Mpanga Central Market are far below the projected Shs 32.8 billion.


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