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Traders Want Rent Arrears Waived

The traders told MPs that they are facing increasing rent arrears, bank loans, limited government support, new tax policy amendments during lockdowns among others.
traders in Kampala

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Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) have asked the government to intervene in the challenges faced by traders during the lockdown.

On Tuesday, the leaders appeared before Parliament’s Trade Committee led by Hope Katwiine, the KACITA Vice-Chairperson. They told MPs that the traders are facing increasing rent arrears, bank loans, limited government support, new tax policy amendments during lockdowns among others.

Katwiine told MPs that traders have lost business since March 2020 when Uganda registered its first Covid-19 case. She said that on top of losing their capital, rent was not waived and loans were carried forward, which has increased the burden on the business community.

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Abel Mwesigye, the Chief Executive Officer KACITA recommended that the rent arrears accumulated during the period of lockdown should be waived and the tenants do not pay for the period when their shops were closed. 

“Deferring rent to future is making the tenant carry a burden which is not a result of his or her cause. Let this be the contribution of the Landlord to the war against Covid-19. This is possible following good-hearted examples of Landlords in the city centre who made a total waive of the entire lockdown rental arrears to their tenants,” said Mwesigye.

He told MPs that the landlords that waived rental arrears include Aponye House (U) Limited on Burton Street which houses Mega Standard Supermarket and other tenants, Ham Shopping Grounds and Mukwano. 

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KACITA also recommends that the Bank of Uganda directs that all interest on loans accrued during lockdown are waived so that landlords are not burdened yet they are not earning rent fees from tenants.

Mwesigye also proposed that government creates a tailor-made stimulus package, in form of a grant for the business community which should not possess as many conditions as the previous one which they say appeared as a loan rather than a grant.

Regarding the new tax policy amendments, KACITA recommends that government puts a halt on the policies and first give it two years as they monitor the economic trends throughout the pandemic. 

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Issa Sekitto, the Spokesperson KACITA said that some of their merchandise is still held by Uganda Revenue Authority- URA due to the unfriendly taxes on imported textile.

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The Committee led by Mwine Mpaka, the MP Mbarara City South will today meet Landlords.

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