Government has challenged Chiradzulu District Council to move vendors into the new Mbulumbuzi Market if the district is to continue benefiting from more Local Development Fund projects.
The market has proved to be a white elephant after vendors continue to shun it, opting to trade along the Zomba-Limbe Road and the old market.
Its official opening ceremony is yet to be conducted and Local Government and Rural Development Minister, Kondwani Nankhumwa, maintained that the ceremony cannot take place with the traders shunning the facility.
Speaking during the official opening ceremony of the new council offices at Chiradzulu Boma on Saturday, Nankhumwa said government had plans to build a stadium in the district but cannot do so until traders move into the market.
“Government is committed to giving you more development projects. But how can we bring more projects when a market on which we spent millions is not being used? Prove to us that you can put to good use what we already gave you before you get more,” Nankhumwa challenged officials who attended the ceremony, including chiefs and councillors.
In response, Council Chairperson, Emmanuel Kamwendo, said the traders had been finding it difficult to pay K10,000 a month for occupying each of the market’s hawkers.
Kamwendo said plans are underway to lower the rental charge and promised that the vendors will move into the market by the end of this week.
“We have been working very hard to convince the traders on the need to put the market to full use. For now, they use it for only two market days in a week. But just like the minister said, they need to permanently move into the facility and operate from there every day,” Kamwendo said.
He said the traders had suggested K5,000 per month for the hawkers as a starting point.
The chairperson said the general feeling was that the hiking of the charge should be done in phases until it eventually reaches K10,000 a month.
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