At least 2,030 stalls remain unoccupied at the newly constructed Arua central market in Arua city, two years after vendors relocated to the facility.

According to the latest state of the market report, only 1,015 stalls have been taken up out of the total 3,045 stalls in the new market. The unoccupied stalls which are located on the first floor of the market were abandoned by the vendors in favour of street vending citing lack of business.

Arua City Principal Treasurer Omar Ajobe explains that although they have tried to persuade the vendors to occupy the stalls through the enforcement of trade order under the Markets Act 2023, the vendors have remained adamant.

Nelson Dada, the chairperson Arua Market Vendors Association faulted the authorities for failing to involve the vendors during the Market design. He says that the constructed stalls in the main market are small, which does not offer enough space for the vendors to place their goods on display.

Malik Drakuma, the Central Division Town Clerk explains that the unoccupied stalls in the market have greatly affected their revenue collection efforts. He estimates that the division could annually generate at least two billion shillings from the market as opposed to the current one billion shillings.

However, Sam Wadri Nyakua, the Arua City Mayor is optimistic that once operational, the city court will go a long way in tackling the challenge of street vending which has remained endemic despite the efforts by the city authorities to enforce the trade order.

Arua main market was Funded by the Africa Development Bank and constructed by Sadeem Al-Kuwait General Trading and Contracting Company to the tune of 34.9 billion Shillings. It was constructed under the second phase of the Market and Agricultural Trade Improvement Program (MATIP II). 

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