Three years after its commissioning, the Omboo modern market built by the World Bank in partnership with the county government of migori is yet to be fully operational.
The market built at a cost of 82 million shillings remained deserted as traders are reluctant to operate inside it despite being fully equipped with clean water, security and electricity.
Traders in Migori have been flocking the Town’s CBD causing congestion while others taking up space at the bus parks and stage and along the highways causing traffic snarl-ups.
In a bid to see the market gets fully operational and woo traders to occupy the new market, the Migori County government’s Department of Trade has directed traders dealing in fresh produce and wholesale supply to relocate all their operations to the recently operationalized Ombo modern market.
Speaking in public Baraza at the new market located in the outskirts of Migori town, Collins Bala, County director for trade said the market is now fully equipped and ready to sustain all the traders.
“I am happy to make it clear that this market now has all the facilities and all the requirements making it meet the standard of a modern market,” said Bala.
The director noted that the meeting was also aimed at allocating spaces to the fresh produce suppliers and retailers with spaces to enable them to stock their ready for sale.
He added that the move will further attract the traders who have been reluctant to own spaces in the modern market for fear of a lack of buyers.
“We have had challenges of traders not being ready to occupy the spaces at the market, which has been a great challenge to us but am hopeful that this new trend will attract them to flock here,” he added.
Traders in Migori have since its operationalization, been reluctant to relocate on allegations that the market is away from the town’s Central Business District, leaving them unsure of the sales.
According to Lucas Omollo, a trader dealing in cereal products, he is not sure whether the move will make them fully relocate.
“We are still experiencing so many challenges such as a connection channel that will easily link the new market such as a bridge,” noted Omollo.
According to the director, the move to renovate and relocate traders to the modern market will be a continuous trend across the county to revive other stalled markets.
Through the scheme, the department aims to equip all the markets with tap water, enough lighting, and security to ensure that trade thrives in Migori County.
“We have witnessed traders abandoning marketplaces for lack of security, lighting and enough water. I want to confirm that we have decided as a department to deal with the elephant in the house once and for all,” he added.
Responding to claims that there are no buyers in the modern market, Bala said that buyers cannot go where there are no goods assembled for sale, hence, it is upon the sellers to take the first action.
He, however, warned traders who have remained inactive despite acquiring trading licenses for the rented spaces that they risk their licenses being revoked and given to other serious traders.
“This is to tell those who have kept their licenses under the suitcase that they are highly risking and as a department, we have all the mandate to revoke and award the licenses to other serious sellers,” he reiterated.
George Olumwa, Migori municipal administrator, said that the department in coordination with the Department of Roads has plans to build a bridge connecting the CBD to the market.
“This is the County’s plan aimed to regenerate the urban areas with an aim of having modern markets that will ensure a flow of trade as economic activity in the county,” said Olumwa.
He also warned the traders who have rented their spaces to other traders that they will soon be victims of a cracked whip by the trade department.
Delocalization for empowerment
Michael Ogare, Namba Market chairman thanked the department’s effort to ensure that the modern market becomes fully operational.
“The department’s bold step to bring together traders to jumpstart this market is a commendable one and should be replicated in other markets,” he said.
Ogare also refuted the claims that the modern market was wrongly placed noting that it was the county’s vision to ensure the delocalization of markets to help decongest the town.
He added that the move to hit the ground moving for the Ombo market is a move to ensure that residents become economically empowered.
Ogare who is also a businessman at the market appealed to other traders and the general public to embrace the new market which has been long overdue.
This was also echoed by Grace Okeyo, a tailor at the market who thanked the County government for ensuring that the modern market becomes a key ingredient in solving congestion in town.
She, however, decried the lack of electricity that she said is important in ensuring light for security and other business ventures that need electricity.