Mixed reactions as Musanze traders relocate to taxi park

TRADERS WHO USED to work from the main market of Musanze District have responded with mixed reactions to their relocation to a nearby Taxi Park.
A trader uses her torch to look at her shoes.  Jean Mbonyinshuti
A trader uses her torch to look at her shoes. Jean Mbonyinshuti

TRADERS WHO USED to work from the main market of Musanze District have responded with mixed reactions to their relocation to a nearby Taxi Park.

The relocation was enforced last Saturday by the district to pave way for renovation works aimed at turning the market into a modern structure at a tune of Rwf4.6 billion.

 Musanze main taxi park is managed by Rwanda Federation of Transport Cooperative (RFTC).

But traders have raised concerns that the relocation was not well organised. They said they were relocated before the completion of the market where they are supposed  to be working as they wait for the new one to be constructed.

Besides, they claim RFTC is charging them an exorbitant rent fees compared to what they were paying before.

Traders occupying ordinary places pay Rwf15,000 per month instead of Rwf10,000, while those in VIP pay Rwf45, 000 or Rwf60, 000.

They are all supposed to pay three months. Eric Niyirera, a garments’ seller, said his business had been affected.

“The business is not going well as there is no light in the market both during the day and at night. The market is big and we cannot get natural light from outside,” Niyirera said, while flashing his torch.

He added that since Saturday when they relocated, he has barely sold a product.

“Besides, we have paid an exorbitant amount of money that we are not recovering. We used to pay Rwf30,000 per three months which was also a lot but now we are paying Rwf45,000,” he added.

Another business woman who preferred anonymity said the district officials should have negotiated with RFTC to relocate them after everything was okay.

“We are now counting losses due to their poor communication, how should they push for relocation before everything is done? How should I be using a torch to arrange goods or show a client? They should have used the money we paid for rent to fix everything,” she said.

Max Uwiragiye, the Director of Musanze Taxi Park, said they were aware of the lighting problem in the market and they are ready to fix it.

“We normally use electricity in the taxi park but the installation for the market is ongoing as we needed stronger energy, we still have less than a week to fix the problem,” he said.

He said they will also use transparent iron sheets to increase the lighting system.

Commenting on the rent charges, Uwiragiye said it was fixed following discussions between traders and district authorities.

He added that the construction of the taxi park was expensive and they fixed the price accordingly.

Musanze District vice-mayor in charge of economic affairs said they had communicated to RFTC to ensure that electricity is installed and business goes on well without affecting traders.

Meanwhile, KODUKUMU cooperative which comprises more than 100 business owners in Musanze, said it had commissioned the market’s construction for a three-year period, according to Raymond Niyonzima, the president of the cooperative

The new market will have four storeys at the front and three at the backside, expected to host 1,000 stalls.

The secretary of KODUKUMU, Alex Murengera, said the contractor, Establishment Kazoza Justin Co., is ready to start so long as the ground is availed.

He said they have issued a tender for whoever wants to buy the materials in the old market to pave way for construction.

“Everything is underway, traders have relocated and we are dealing with people who can buy used materials so the company starts its activities, we are optimistic to kick off work in two or three weeks,” he said.

 

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