By Andrew Irumba
Kampala: President Yoweri Museveni in his 17th address to the nation regarding the status of COVID-19 cleared the reopening of 110 arcades that had met the given Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), by Ministry of Health.
However, Lubega didn’t comply, he locked his tenants out of his arcades because some had allegedly not paid their rent fees, which tempted his tenants to storm his office.
Some of the tenants claimed that Lubega had confiscated their property for failure to pay rent arrears that had accumulated to four months of lockdown.
Drake Lubega said he could not open for his tenants till they clear the four months rent arrears despite their being in lockdown adding that banks won.t excuse him from paying loans hence a reason for squeezing his tenants.
“And even if it was not bank loans still i cannot keep tenant’s merchandise for free for almost four months, paying for them security and other necessary bills then they just come and occupy” Drake said.
Some of the traders stranded are those working from Qualicel, Pentagon, and Nabukera, Jesco Plaza, Titanic, Atlanta Jesco Beauty Plaza, Majestic,ESCO Plastics, Mini Price among other arcades.
This comes after a series of meetings between Minister for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Hon. Amelia Kyambadde with the Kampala Landlords including City Tycoon Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia among others agreeing on the following.
- To decongest the arcades by; Reducing the number of occupants ,3 occupants per shop, but ensure social distance of 2 meters between the shop attendants within the shop premises.
- Removing people trading in the corridors, stair cases, doors and temporary structure (make shift shops).
- Demarcate and mark points where the buyers will stand while being attended to and to serve one customer at ago.
- Increase the number of guards on the entry and exit points to manager; tempt guns, washing areas and sanitazing gates, compound, floor and doors.
- No hawkers and food vendors shall be allowed in to arcades.
- Tenants and customers shall regularly sanitize end wear face masks.
- People carrying luggage and use arcade as passage ways to cross from one street to another are prohibited.
- Landlords shall allow tenants to start trading as they discuss on case by case basis how to stager the rent arrears.
However Drake Lubega seems to have turned him self deaf over what he agreed with the government something undermining presidential directives to open arcades for traders.
This forced the Minister of Trade Kyambadde to hold a press conference yesterday and warned Drake to stop pretending to be not knowing that all people have been in lockdown and therefore no need to ask them to pay rent as if they have been working.
“It is surprising that after meeting these landlords and agreed on how to handle issues related to rent, again today i have received complaints that Drake has sealed off his arcades now i wonder whether he didn’t understand what we agreed” Minister Kyambadde said at Uganda Media Centre.
She added that she was to call landlords again to know why some have not responded to the agreements that were made with the government to open for traders work as they continue to discuss on how to handle rent issues.