Lunzu Market in Blantyre district is wearing a new face with rehabilitation and expansion works currently underway, a development which authorities say will help improve revenue collection for the Blantyre District Council.
The Local Development Fund (LDF) is constructing three market sheds each with four bays, 28 kiosks, four butcheries, sanitary facilities and a slaughter house as well as renovating the old structures, a project whose total cost is K108 million according to Blantyre District Commissioner, Bennet Nkasala.
Speaking to journalists during a media tour for LDF funded projects in the southern region, Nkasala disclosed that Lunzu Market is the largest source of revenue for the council with a revenue base of K4 million per month.
He said the figure is expected to be doubled once the construction works are completed.
“This money will help us as a council to serve the citizenry better as we will be able to carry out social responsibility activities to benefit them,” he said adding apart from increasing the revenue base, the new market will help improve the landscape of Lunzu.
He said the facility which will be the best in the district will provide a conducive environment to vendors who will be plying their trade in a more spacious and modern market.
The District Commissioner parried away fears that the vendors may not utilise the facility once it is completed as is the case with some markets in other areas, saying the council has been engaging the vendors at the onset of the project to incorporate their preferences.
“We have been doing consultations with the vendors all along to make sure that we don’t impose the project on them and that they should have a sense of ownership,” he said.
Nkasala said the council has put in place measures to prevent fire which has of late been a major challenge in most of the markets in the country.
He said as a council, they are not going to allow vendors to erect illegal structures as this is one of the contributing factors to most of the market fires.
Chairperson of the Lunzu Market vendors, Clement Masilika Maovololo concurred with the District Commissioner saying they will try their best to prevent a recurrence of fire which previously gutted the market by fixing fire extinguishers and water taps.
“As vendors, we are proud to have this state of the art facility which is a model market for Blantyre as well as other districts and we will ensure that it is well secured,” he said.
LDF Development Communication Specialist, Booker Matemvu observed that the new market will help to ease up congestion as well as reduce road accidents.
“The old market was small and most the vendors were doing their businesses outside and very close to the main road which resulted in a number of accidents on the road,” he said.
Funds for the project have been provided by the German Development Bank (KFW).
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