AMURU. Traders in Elegu Town Council have asked Amuru District leaders to expedite the construction of a modern market facility at the Uganda-South Sudan border.
The traders note that while they pay taxes to the Government, they operate in makeshift structures that expose their merchandises to the risk of sudden infernos, devastating annual flash floods and thefts.
Aisha Bako, a vendor in the area points out that the temporary market stalls and stores they operate at the Township coupled with the congestion and lack of proper access roads have plunged dozens of their colleagues into losses.
Margaret Ayo, the Chairperson of Elegu Market Vendors Association who also doubles as the Chairperson Cross Border Women Traders Association argues that the District should gazette for them an area so that they construct their lockup shops to safeguard against losses.
Fredric Joseph Otim, an Inspector at the border with Uganda National Bureau of Standards – UNBS observes the losses being incurred by the traders due to natural disasters is high despite dozens borrowing loans for their businesses.
In 2019, Amuru District Local Government earmarked Shs.2.5bn to construct a modern market for the vendors but it was halted following the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease – COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Michael Lakony, the LCV Chairperson says that they had already awarded the contract for the market project but the pandemic crippled their progress. He said the government owns 250 acres of land in Elegu, part of which the market will be established.
Margaret Auma, the Elegu Cross Border Women Traders Association has a membership of over 4,000 registered members. She says that unfavorable conditions for their business have stifled profitability and expansion.
With a population of 17,000 people and over 600 long-distance cargo trucks that cross through Elegu to South Sudan, the border point has become one of the five highest-volume border posts for the country, earning Shs.199.6bn in 2020.
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