KAMPALA: In a bid to tackle concerns raised by Owino Market vendors, a meeting took place with representatives from the market, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), and a delegation from Kampala Water (KW). The gathering, initiated by the vendors, centered on addressing an outstanding bill that has accumulated to over Ugx44 million since 2019. Notably, vendors situated at the farther reaches of the market have been grappling with intermittent water supply challenges despite the presence of 32 water points.
The historical context reveals that the market operated on commercial tariffs until a shift to the Public Service Provider (PSP) tariff following a presidential directive in response to the challenges posed by the CoronaVirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This transition was driven by the influx of vendors seeking accommodation within the market premises.
On November 16, 2022, a directive was issued to bill the vendors, leading to a substantial financial burden. In response to these challenges, a comprehensive meeting was held, where vendors made an appeal for a waiver on the outstanding bill and sought intervention to resolve the intermittent water supply issues at specific points within the market.
Resolutions emerged from the discussions, with plans to upgrade the network within the market to address supply challenges. The focus also extended to engaging KCCA in discussions regarding water-related matters, with special attention to the installation of water storage tanks.
To alleviate the financial burden on the vendors, a decision was made for them to commence payments starting with the current bill. Simultaneously, talks will be held with KCCA management to determine a way forward concerning the outstanding bill. Additionally, comprehensive sensitization drives are in the pipeline to educate both vendors and customers on water-related issues, fostering awareness of the services provided by the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC).
This strategic move by KW is a step in resolving the immediate concerns of Owino Market vendors, and also sets the stage for a positive impact within the market community.