Adjumani Main Market vendors and shopkeepers have refused to pay current rent and arrears to the town council even after the council waived off Shs62 million of the Shs122 million they owed the council.
The vendors and shopkeepers accuse the town council of not being transparent in managing the local revenue.
They also say they are unable to pay the rent because their businesses are still recovering from the two-year Covid-19 lockdown.
They further express displeasure with the way the rent is collected and also claim that the money collected is not used for priority issues such as garbage disposal.
The town council officials say since 2020 to date, most of the vendors have not been paying market dues.
Adjumani Main Market has 69 rooms and each room is rented at Shs80,000.
On Tuesday, the vendors and shopkeepers stormed the office of the town council, demanding speedy resolution of their grievances.
The chairperson of the vendors in Adjumani’s Main Market, Mr Swaib Asiku, says: “We appeal to the town council authorities to waive off the rent arrears of 2020 to 2021. Allow us to start paying rent for the current financial year. We have equally been affected by the tough economic times.”
Ms Margaret Ajuga, a vendor, says: “We know they also need money, but we are financially handicapped. There should be transparency in utilising the revenues.”
The senior accountant of Adjumani Town Council, Mr Paranza Okuga, says: “Out of the 69 tenants, only 10 tenants have complied and paid their rent. Some people are perpetual defaulters of rent.”
He adds that their plans to renovate the market have been dented by the failure to pay rent arrears.
Mr Okuga says the vendors and shopkeepers still owe the council Shs60 million following the Shs62 million waiver.
“We shall not waive off the rent arrears, those who fail to pay will be taken to court, but those who want to pay should come to the office and make part payments,” he adds.
Adjumani Town Council in the last Financial Year 2021/2022, budgeted Shs3.4m for procurement of corporate wear to uplift the image of the town council, according to officials, however, several residents viewed it as a wasteful expenditure.
Mr Samuel Lagu, the town clerk, says: “We use the money collected here to manage garbage, maintain streetlights and maintain roads. There was a separate budget for buying the dresses that were approved by the council.”
Adjumani Main Market, which was built 10 years ago, has the capacity to accommodate up to 500 vendors and it is the second largest source of revenue for the town council after Awindiri Produce Market.