PAKWACH. There is a growing rift between the vendors under their umbrella organization, the Pakwach Market Traders Association (PMTA) and Pakwach town council over repeated failure to regulate the rampant transaction of business outside the designated market places.

The traders operating mainly in the main market have accused the town council of turning a blind eye on those selling merchandise along the busy streets and the bus terminal yet they do not pay trading license.

Ms Kadija Genkoo, the PMTA chairperson complained that such rampant trade undermines their commitment for close cooperation and support to colleagues in an event of seeking financial help from the government.

"Those vending along the road do not have any association or trading license yet they divert customers away from the main market place," she said.

Mrs Margate Oketha, a trader who has operated for over eight years in the main Market said several dialogue meeting between the traders and the officials to forge a way forward have yielded no results.

Vendors at Pakwach

She insisted that operating under a single association would help them to make a unified decision in regard to price determination hence avoiding exploitation.

"You find prices of items we sell are different because we are totally divided" she lamented.

The traders are optimistic that the charges levied on their merchandise which they described as "discriminatory" will be regulated and coordinated in a coherent manner.

Mr Donald Okellowange, seller of confectionery at the Bus Park countered that the proposal by the traders’ association to cram every vendor inside the main market would be unfavorable for those with small consignments.

“We cannot compete favourably with those more established traders because the nature of our merchandise necessitates us to hawk and look for customers mainly those traveling in vehicles,” he said.

Most of the goods sold by the roadside vendors are fish, cakes, biscuits, soda and mineral water, handcrafts and other petty goods.

Mr Benson Okumu, the Pakwach Town Council Chairperson said amalgamating the Traders will require an expensive reconstruction and expansion of the main market, something the council does not have the finances to undertake.

He said motions were variously tabled in the Council to try to find a solution but councilors have always failed to come up with a comprehensive plan of intervention.

Pakwach town council has only one main market accommodating hundreds of traders.