Found selling passion fruits at the market cellar, Ngota looked miserable, aggravated by the unfolding situation which he described as ‘gradual disappearance of the Kariakoo market’. He cannot imagine what the future holds for him.
“I cannot believe being reduced to a simple fruit retailer. I was a prosperous whole seller of different farm produce brought here ranging from onions, cabbages, beans, maize among others. Today things are different,” Ngota posed and took a deep sigh of relief.
Trucks that used to make delivery here, he elaborated, are hardly coming this way. The proliferation of many other markets under the supervision of municipal councils has aggravated the situation.
It was revealed that markets which were supposed to be managed by the Kariakoo Market Corporation are now operating independently under the supervision of the respective municipalities, Ilala, Temeke and Kinondoni in addition to the recently established district councils of Ubungo and Kigamboni.
However, Ngota does not sound completely pessimistic: “Authorities can help make a difference. Trucks that are supposed to reach Kariakoo should be allowed to make delivery. This place was supposed to be a wholesale point but currently the opposite is the case. We buy foodstuffs from outside to sell in these stalls as retailers,” Ngota concluded.
Zalhina Langweni (40), sells avocado, mangoes and tomato. She is equally dejected and predicts the total collapse of the Kariakoo market centre unless some bold and deliberate corrective measures are taken.
“Business here is full of uncertainties. I have been in this place for 18 years but never experienced a slump as seen today. Trucks that used to bring cargo here are no more,” she said.
Adding; “A few trucks occasionally make delivery but the majority took the cargo to other markets like Tandale, Temeke Sterio, Mabibo or Buguruni. In fact traders in those markets were supposed to come to Kariakoo for wholesale transaction.
Today the opposite is the case. We go to them to buy foodstuffs as retailers. We used to see more than 100 trucks offloading the foodstuff but today five or ten trucks deliver goods here in a day. This is absurd,” Zalhina remarked.
Commenting on the situation, the newly appointed General Manager of the Kariakoo Market Corporation, Hetson Msalale Kipsi admitted the confusion, pledging intense redress for the market to fulfil its obligations.
“Past wrong decisions gradually undermined the role of the Kariakoo Market Corporation. For example the law provides that all agricultural products brought to Dar es Salaam must be inspected by the corporation for certification of safety and proper revenue collection. This is not done the way it should be,” Kipsi said.
He briefly spoke about the ongoing structural adjustment negotiations with the Regional Administration and Local Governments division, and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment to iron out shortfalls that undermined the proper functioning of the Kariakoo Market.
“Trucks designated to bring consignment to Katiakoo market make delivery in other markets in the municipalities. In this regard, revenue is greatly reduced in Kariakoo market centre. Introduced municipal by-laws direct that trucks loaded with foodstuffs should have a special permit from the municipal authorities to allow them reach this market. It seems the drivers opt for delivery in the proximal markets to avoid procedures for acquisition of permits,” Kipsi explained.
However, he sounded determined to make a difference to make sure that the corporation does not only expand its activities but also put in place proper and synchronized operational procedures for the convenience of customers.
Asked to comment on seemingly deliberate obstruction of trucks from reaching the Kariakoo market, Ilala municipality mayor, Charles Kwiyeko said there was no malicious attempt to undermine the performance of the Kariakoo market only that the by-laws were strictly observed.
“Regulations provide that trucks above seven-tonnage should not be allowed to enter the city centre including Kariakoo to safeguard the infrastructure. Therefore, all vehicles bringing farm produce to Dar es Salaam must comply with the directives either to seek a special permit after thorough inspection or to offload the cargo to trucks not exceeding seven tons for delivery in Kariakoo. What happens is that drivers do not do that. The shipment is delivered in municipal markets instead,” Kwiyeko clarified.
Despite the provision in the Kariakoo Market Corporation Act, 1974 that prohibits business around the Kariakoo structure, the compound is characterized of an assortment of agricultural and industrial products.
Originally the Kariakoo market was basically designed to feature active wholesale with some degree of retail to cater for the city centre local market.
Today anything and everything worth trading is found at the market ranging from agricultural crops, fresh and dried fish, vegetables, electronic gadgets, handicrafts, second-hand clothes, kitchenware, shoes, handbags, jewellery and many other wares.
Part of the legislation reads; “It shall be the duty of the Corporation to ensure that every specified market is kept clean and does not constitute a hazard to public health, safety or general welfare; has an adequate supply of fresh water and, where possible, of electricity; managed in an efficient manner,”
“The Corporation may, with the consent of the Minister make by-laws regulating the use of specified markets and market buildings, and keeping order, preventing obstructions and maintaining cleanliness therein or in the approaches thereto; prescribing the goods which may be sold in any specified market; prohibiting the sale of any specified kind of goods within any area referred to as ''the market area'' except in a specified market.”