By Joan Tendo
Traders in Kampala who operate in different different arcades, under their umbrella body, the Kampala Arcade Traders Association (KATA) have petitioned the Chairperson of the Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UNCCI) over the rent arrears.
Traders led by their Chairperson, Godfrey Katongole, say that between March and June 2020 during the country wide lockdown, no business was operating therefore it is unfair for landlords to demand the arrears for this period
This comes in a period when John Bosco Ssebalamu, one of Kampala’s business tycoon started demanding rent of four months before traders resume working on his building called Nabukeera Plaza,
“Let landlords allow us to pay half rent for four months after lockdown so that we are able to save some little money that we can use to revive our businesses that are at a verge of collapse,” Katongole said adding that,
“Let them give traders who feel that they no longer have a capacity to continue running their businesses in arcades to access their shops so that they are able to take away whatever is left there,”
In this letter to the traders request Mrs. Olive Kigongo, the UNCCI Chairperson to ask the landlords waive rent payments for the period of the lockdown starting with the month of April.
“For about three months now, we have not been working due to measures put in place by the President and the Ministry of Health to contain the spread of coronavirus in Uganda. Meaning that for all that period we were not earning and yet we have families to feed and other responsibilities,”
For more than two months now, traders have tried all means to make sure that the rent arrears are either waived or reduced by arcade owners.
In most of his covi-19 televised presidential addresses, President Yoweri Museveni has cautioned landlords from, evicting tenants over rent arrears,
“We are going nowhere why evict tenants because of rent? I have directed the police to arrest any landlord who will evict tenants during this lockdown.” Mr. Museveni said in one of the addresses.