Nyarugenge District has started the process to privatise two of its major markets, Biryogo and Rwezamenyo, with view to hand them to entrepreneurs who will in turn redevelop them to comform with the urban district’s master plan, the district mayor has said.
Speaking to The New Times last week, Kayisime Nzaramba said the two establishments fall short of the requirements of the master plan.
Rwezamenyo market sits on 10,705 square metres and accommodates 505 traders, while Biryogo market covers 3,986 square metres with 350 traders.
“We are selling the two markets in a bid to encourage the private sector to actively contribute partake in the advancement of the district’s economy in line with the master plan,” she said.
It’s also a demonstration of our commitment to the growth of private enterprise and investments in the district, she added.
She said they are looking for investors who can redevelop the markets in the same way that Nyarugenge market in downtown Kigali was transformed into a modern marketplace several years back.
A public notice has already been issued calling for bids.
Asked about the fate of the current traders in the two market, the mayor said there was no intention of pushing them out soon.
“There won’t be any rushed decision because these markets are a source of livelihoods for hundreds of households. It will take time before the successful investors start to break the ground,” said Nzaramba.
She also said there is no fixed price for any of the markets, adding that the right price will be arrived at through competitive bidding.
The timeframe for construction works will also be agreed upon with successful bidders, she said.
Eric Mbarushimana, who sells assorted clothing in Biryogo market, said that in case they are to be relocated, they should be helped to get temporary space nearby.
“Some of us have been operating from here for so long and our customers are accustomed to finding us here,” he said.
But The New Times also established that the district had previously given traders in the market to relocate before April 25, 2018.
As a result, some traders have already moved.
And those that remain also face uncertainty, they said.
Jean d’Amour Habimana, one of the traders with a stall in Biryogo market, said: “we do not have any guarantee of whether we shall continue operating from this market for long; there are too much rumors going around and no one has come out to dispel them.”
He, however, agrees that the market is in a poor state and needs upgrading.
“What we are requesting is that in the event that an investor redevelops this market, they should work with us to come up with rent charges that are affordable for all the traders.”