Parliament To Pass New Markets Bill To End Traders Conflicts

Parliament has granted Workers MP, Hon Margret Rwabushaija, leave of the House to introduce a Private Member’s Bill entitled, “The Markets Bill, 2021” that seeks harmonise the running of markets across the country.

The Bill seeks to repeal and replace The 1942 Markets Act, CAP. 94 in order to provide for comprehensive legal and economic reforms that have evolved over time.

Rwabushaija argued that the current Markets Act is obsolete and does not provide for the changes that have occurred within the economy since 1942, making its provisions obsolete.

“CAP. 94 of the current Markets Act places the establishment, administration and maintenance of markets solely in the hands of districts and municipal councils, yet with enactment of the 1995 constitution, the economy was liberalised putting management, maintenance and ownership of markets In the hands of individuals,” she said.

Rwabushaija was speaking to her motion seeking leave of Parliament to introduce the Bill.

The Worker’s MP added that over time, market vendors, private individuals and companies have joined the market business to establish and manage markets, yet the current law does not provide for them, rendering the restrictions of the current law archaic.

Fellow Workers MP, Agnes Kunihira in seconding the motion, said that the 80 year-old-Market Act is blind about the new elements in the markets, a reason there are continuous conflicts in the running of markets.

“Since the new law does not provide for changes in ownership and administration of markets, there are fights between vendors and market authorities, as seen in Owino and Nakasero markets,” she said.

Oyam District Woman MP,  Sandra Alum, said the new law will be timely to address conflicts in markets such as the unlawful fees charged on vendors  which she said was a frequent matter of contention.

“There are various fees being charged but are not backed by the law and this gives room for the market authorities to exploit vendors and could be the reason there are many fights” said Alum.

She added that there are several changes that the new law will address such as the entity in charge of regulating markets. She noted that by 1942, the regulation of markets was under the trade ministry but is now under the local government ministry.

Hon Charles Bakkabulindi, (Workers MP) reiterated that since the nature of markets has changed from the mobile ones of the 1940s to malls and supermarkets, the new law will go a long way in regulating such new elements within the markets.

Speaker Jacob Oulanyah in steering the debate, guided that since the proposals within the motion did not contravene any constitutional provisions, the House was acting in order to grant Rwabushaija leave.

With the motion passed, the Bill will be published in the Uganda Gazette in devotion to the law.


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