Govt to construct two markets for urban refugees in Gulu city

Dec 01, 2023

The construction of the multi-billion shillings’ Gulu Modern Market in Bardege –Layibi Division and Layibi Market in Pece –Laroo Division is being funded under the financing durable solutions initiative for forcibly displaced people.

Assumpta Tibamwenda, technical advisor Ministry of local government (left in maroon coat) launching the cionstruction of Gulu Modern market togther with staff of UNCDF, Gulu City and vendors.

Jackson Kitara
Journalist @New Vision

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GULU

Government in partnership with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and Swiss Agency for Development and Corporation shall construct two markets in Gulu City to support the forcibly displaced people.

The construction of the multi-billion shillings’ Gulu Modern Market in Bardege –Layibi Division and Layibi Market in Pece –Laroo Division is being funded under the financing durable solutions initiative for forcibly displaced people.

UNCDF has given sh1.2billion for construction of the two markets.

Christo Balmoi, the Gulu City Engineer said the work at Gulu Modern Market has already started with leveling off the ground.

National Housing and Construction Company (NHCCL) has taken over the construction.

He said each market will have lockups, storage spaces, retail stalls, green area, parking area as well as children’s playing grounds and waste management.

Gulu City has 9,569 urban refugees and internally displaced persons and that those from South Sudan form the majority with 65 percent, followed by Congolese, representing 3.8% of the population of Gulu City.

“65% of these refugees and the internally displaced persons are single mothers. These markets will help improve their livelihoods”, says Sarah Apio, the Gulu City Forcibly Displaced Persons’ Focal Person.

Joel Mundua, the project manager who doubles as the deputy head of UNCDF office said the actual construction of the markets will start in January next year and shall be completed in May.

Assumpta Tibamwenda, technical advisor at the ministry of local government said, three years ago, the government created regional cities to create jobs and stimulate the way people raise their income in these cities.

She said if the market is constructed it will accommodate vendors and create a good atmosphere for them in carrying out their economic activities.

Alfred Okwonga, the Gulu City Mayor pledged full commitment and political support for the success of the project.

He said Gulu City council do not have money to construct these markets, that is why they lobby funds from well-wishers to build.

Okwonga said “we will consult, talk to you and get your advice first before we do anything in the market. We want to see that these markets are built well and you are the first people to occupy it”.

Samuel Loka, the chairperson Gulu modern Market vendors’ association said, Gulu Modern market is the biggest market in Bardege-Layibi division, but due to poor conditions of the market, many vendors ran away from it.

He said at the moment, they have 146 vendors selling in the market and only 38 lock-up shops are operational out of over 280 lockup shops.

Isaac Draparaku, the chairperson of Madi community in Acholi who doubles as the member of Gulu city development forum said, most of the refugees especially Congolese women are not benefiting from government programs like Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP), Parish development model (PDM), Emyooga among others because the programs are targeting only citizens.

He said by building the markets, it will help these women to engage in economic business to enhance themselves.

Draparaku said these Congolese women are also facing challenges of burying their dear one as most of them are single mothers whose husbands (UPDF officers) who brought them separated with them.

He said most of these women when they lose their dear one, they request the host communities to help them with their land for bury their relatives as they cannot take the dead body to DR Congo.

Draparaku said Gulu city council should deign a burial ground that will help refugees and displaced person burry their dear ones.

She said the UNCDF should also design a specific program that targets host communities so that it will not bring hatred between host communities and the people of concern.

“You cannot say you need to support urban refugees and displaced persons and leave the host communities, yet we have youth from host communities who are unemployed, this will bring hatred between us”, Draparaku remarked.

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