By Spy Uganda
Kampala: Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa has advised Ugandans to forget about not paying their rent arrears for the months the country was under lockdown.
She instead promised to ask government to come up with an affordable credit facility which can help the tenants to overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was after Speaker Rebecca Kadaga in her communication to the House informed Parliament that she had received a petition from operators of Cinemas, who want government to allow them to resume their operations while observing the set Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
“The cinema operators said that even under ordinary operating circumstances, they have their special operating procedures to safeguard those intending to utilize their services,” Kadaga said during the plenary sitting on Wednesday 5 August 2020.
Kadaga reported that in their meeting, the cinema operators had cited a number countries that have opened up and allowed cinemas to operate, including Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Latvia, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Denmark.
However, the Speaker’s communication prompted the Kampala Central MP, Muhammad Nsereko to complain about the landlords in Kampala who have started putting padlocks on traders’ shops yet the President in his COVID-19 addresses halted the evictions of tenants.
In response, Nankabirwa informed Parliament that the President cannot stop landlords from demanding the rent arrears because many have bank loans but promised to take the matter to cabinet so that an affordable credit facility is availed.
These come at a time when governments scientific technical committee approved 47 arcades and re-opened while 84 are still pending since they have not yet fulfilled ministry of health COVID-19 guidelines to resume operation.
In inspection and approving city arcades to be opened, the government inspection team commended the leadership of Crane Management Service Limited, a company that manages all building under Ruparelia Group for fulfilling all the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that were issued by the Ministry of Health and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to all city arcade owners before the re-opening of their buildings in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Unlike other arcades, all the city buildings owned by businessman Sudhir Ruparelia managed to put in place all the required SOPs .
According to Prabhat Mishra, the General Manager Crane Management Services, the inspection team for COVID-19 which visited their facilities, gave them the highest percentage mark among all the arcades in the downtown Kampala.
“Among the SoPs we put in place at all our facilities include; The Social Distancing Stickers at every 2 meters inside the buildings to avoid overcrowding. All arcade entry and Exit points are clearly marked with placed sanitizers and Hand Wash cans. Our arcades consist of modern toilets for both ladies, men and Person with Disabilities (PDWs) with soap dispensers and hand wash sanitizers,” said Mr Mishra.
“Also all our tenants are briefed with COVID-19 rules of sanitation and we have gone to an extent of distributing 2000 facemasks and hand sanitizers to all our tenants. All our facilities are sanitized 3 times a day.”