The Minister of Local Government Raphael Magyezi on Thursday declined to commission a multi-million newly constructed market in Omoro District because it was incomplete.
Magyezi had been invited along with the State Minister for Northern Uganda Rehabilitation Grace Freedom Kwiyucwyiny by Omoro district leaders to preside over the commissioning of Lela-obaro Market in Bobi Sub-county.
The new market worth 700 million Shillings was constructed under the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda with funding from the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).
However, during a tour of the newly constructed facility, the ministers found out that some of the structures hadn’t been fully completed by the contractor, Civo Construction Services Ltd.
Speaking to local leaders and market vendors at the Market site, Magyezi said the market won’t be commissioned until it’s fully complete and gave a one-month ultimatum to the contractor to finish up ten percent of the work.
Magyezi sided with the local leaders in the area who had called on the Minister to task the contractor to first finish up the facility up to 100 percent before they could own it.
He directed that the contractor must first complete the perimeter wall, doors for stalls, recreational facilities for children, bulking room, lighting points, and installation of pipes for water tanks while the district has to improve on the access road.
Magyezi was however furious with the district leaders and directed the Chief Administrative Officer of Omoro District to take disciplinary action against the market supervisor and the district engineer for misadvising the government on an incomplete project.
He notes that the gaps show clearly the engineering department in the district wasn’t serious adding that they have failed to ensure value for money in the government project.
Kwiyucwyiny says the action of the district leaders was a failure to ensure proper planning, supervision, and monitoring of government projects.
“When government projects come, there must be effective planning and supervision, you don’t wait for the last day and say work is not done, so what have you been doing all this while, why didn’t you stop us so that we don’t come here,” says Kwiyucwyiny.
Kwyiyucwyiny however says the market will help the vendors go about their businesses without inconveniences while the district will raise revenue that will spur development. The sub-county projects to earn between 1.2 million shillings and 1.5 million shillings per month as revenue from the market.
Donath Eswilu, the Omoro District Chief Administrative Officer yesterday assured the Ministers that the remaining scope of work will be undertaken in one and half weeks. He says an additional fund of 30 million shillings and a retention fee of 15 million shillings is readily available to have the work fully completed.
The market vendors in the area have however welcomed the new structure and lauded the government for the initiative that will benefit some 120 vendors within the area and others from neighboring Oyam, Gulu, and Nwoya districts.
Christine Lalam, the Chairperson of Women vendors at Lela-obaro market says they had been selling by the roadsides and most times had to endure with challenges of storage, strong sunshine, dust, and inconveniences caused by rainfalls.
She however called on the contractor to complete the facility so that it could be fully occupied. The newly constructed market comprises 88 stalls, 20 lockup shops, 3 bulking units, a breastfeeding room, office playgrounds, office space, toilets, and a rubbish pit.