Mpondwe – Lhubiriha Town Council in Kasese district has continued losing more than shillings 350 million every financial year ever since the salted fish market was shifted to the Democratic Republic of Congo side.
The fish market was shifted to the area after a directive by the President of the Republic of Uganda in 2021 to have the border and the market temporarily closed as one of the ways of curtailing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr. Selevest Masereka Mapoze, the Chairperson Local Council III for Mpondwe – Lhubiriha Town Council says before the market was shifted to the DRC side, they used to collect shillings 400 million, adding that they currently collect shillings 55 million. He adds that the Town Council now depends on the cattle holding ground, tomato and onions market and property tax as the major sources of Local revenue.
The Town Council’s Political Head recalls the previous financial years when they would operate on a budget of shillings 2 billion compared to the current one of shillings 700 million.
Mr. Stanley Bwambale Pandas, the Chairperson for the Vendors Export Zone at Mpondwe –Lhubiriha Market, stresses that the absence of the salted fish market in the area has not only affected the local revenue collections but also the people’s standards of living.
According to him, the youth who used to load and offload the vehicles have remained unemployed hence resorting to joining the bad peer groups.
Ms. Justine Biira, a trader at the market appeals to government to bring back the market centre back to the Ugandan side due to a number of challenges related to smuggling through the porous routes leading to DRC.