NEBBI. Nebbi municipal authorities have moved to decongest Nebbi main market as part of the effort to implement the Presidential directive on coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Mr Herbert Kadumbula, the municipal health inspector said they have decided to move some of the vendors dealing in silver fish, matooke and potatoes among other food items outside the market so as to decongest it.

“We decided to create space outside the market to allow free movement in order to avoid the spread of coronavirus,” Kadumbula said.

Mr Jatex Janega Opio, the chairman Nebbi main market vendors noted that since the ban of non-food items, most people resorted to the sale of rice, potatoes, matooke and silverfish in the market thus congesting it.

“We have decided to relocate some of the vendors outside the market so that they can have enough space to move freely and we believe, the decision can help us to ensure that the distance between a buyer and a seller is 4m as recommended by health workers,” Opio said.

But Ketty Alum, an affected rice vendor expressed disappointment over the municipality action, saying she has been selling in the market for long.

“Let the municipal authority allow us to operate besides the shops in the market other than sending us outside where there are few customers,” Alum demanded.

However, Emmanuel Urombi, the Nebbi district chairperson said most officials have ended up misinterpreting the Presidential directive by closing shops and kiosks selling general merchandise yet they are still needed.

“We don’t have supermarkets in Nebbi and when the kiosks and shops are closed, most of the owners relocate to the market hence the congestion,” Urombi said.

He instead advised the security operatives in the district to leave the shops and kiosks selling general merchandise to operate since the President didn’t order for their closure.

Meanwhile, Dr. Jakor Oryema, the district health officer observed that the main challenge in the market at the moment is the inadequate number of hand washing facilities.

He said there is only one hand washing facility at the entrance of the market which is not enough to serve vendors who spend the whole day in the market.