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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Traders Call for Speedy Completion Of Kaduna’s Famous Kawo Market

Traders, who are hoping to relocate to Kaduna’s famous Kawo Market, have urged contractors to speed up work on the project, which was earlier scheduled to be completed in 2021.   

Kawo Market, in Kaduna North Local Government Area of the state, is famous as a Thursday weekly market, which attracts traders from neighbouring communities.

Arewa Trust Weekly reports that many traders were heartbroken when the state government in 2019 decided to demolish the market and rebuild a more modern structure with improved facilities.

However, almost two years since the reconstruction of the market began, traders whose shops were demolished, say they have been left in a dilemma due to the slow pace of the project.

Awarded in January 2020 to Powerhill Construction Limited at the cost of N2.94 billion, the project, which was supposed to take 18 months is yet to be completed. According to the Kaduna Market Development and Management Company, when completed, the market is expected to have 2,700 shops, open market stalls, warehouses, parking lots as well as banks and a fire station.   

A shop owner at the old market, Kamal Abdullahi, said he is still expectant as the government has assured them that all those who lost their shops in the old market will be allocated new shops in the new market.

“The governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai has assured the people of Kaduna State in a media chat that when the new market is completed, all the former occupants will be allocated shops. Now, it is two years since the demolition and the market is not completed, even though they had assured us that they will finish it in 18 months.”

Abdullahi said though the contractors have gone far with the project, more needed to be done to speed up the process. “They have finished the ground floor and some parts of the first floor but as at now the work has stopped, there are no people on the construction site,” he said.

Another trader, Adnan Adamu, said the demolition of the old Kawo market led to a loss of capital for many traders. “My three shops and capital were gone because I had no other place to go and shops are scarce in Kaduna.”

Arewa Trust Weekly gathered that for those interested, a list of shop types, sizes and prices have already been made available by the contractors.

According to the list, when completed, open stalls will cost N600,000 while grain open stalls will cost N800,000. The prices for the locked-up shops range from N2 million to N5.5 million depending on the size and floor while a warehouse will cost N4.5 million.

However, since the list became available, some traders who were hoping to get a replacement for the shops they lost have expressed worry saying they cannot afford the new price.

When contacted, the Chairman of the Market Traders Association, Muhammad Idris, said the government has introduced a mortgage bank to enable those interested in shops to make payments within a period of seven years after an initial payment of 10 per cent.

Attempts to reach Powerhill to comment officially were unsuccessful as there was no official on site when our correspondent visited. However, one of the developers told our correspondent that the market will be completed in the next six months.

He said the market when completed will have eight gates, two banks and a fire service department while assuring that road access to every part of the market and large parking lots will be made available. He said every interested buyer will be entitled to one shop only.

Attempts to reach Powerhill to comment officially was unsuccessful as there was not official on site when our correspondent visited. However, one of the developers told our correspondent that the market will be completed in the next six months.

On their part, the Kaduna Market Development and Management Company, through the Managing Director, Tamar Nandul said the market had suffered delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 but said work has continued even though there has been a rise in the prices of building materials.

“No one can claim the market was ever abandoned, there has been different level of intensity of work, progress at different point in time. We are mindful of our time line and we are working to fast-track complete and a timeline is set for the first quarter of next year,” she said.

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