By Spy Uganda
Kampala: After a vibrant protest staged by Kampala Capital City Traders -KACITA to have arcades reopened, Minister of Trade Amelia Kyambadde, Betty Among, and Benny Namugwanya have on Tuesday afternoon converged at the Office of the Prime Minister-OPM to discuss on arcade re-opening.
The meeting was attended by City arcade owners including Ruparelia Group Chairman Dr.Sudhir Ruparelia, Hamis Kigundu, among others who were called in an impromptuly to find away forward of opening arcades without defying presidential directives of COVID19.
According to KACITA, the measures are intended to torture specifically traders in the arcades. Haji Isa Ssekito, the spokesperson of KACITA said that although ministers called for the meeting, their arrangements of opening arcades will remain in progress despite the fact the government had asked them to first hold on as clear all the arcades that will be allowed to reopen. They said before opening, the arcades should have observed the Standard Operating Procedures as set by the Ministry of Health.
“We have been called to meet with the committee that is supposed to ascertain which arcade should be opened and they are going to show us the list of which arcades should be opened and those still pending. However, we are going to keenly look through this list, because for us we want nobody to be left out, we are going to ask them to allow all arcades to operate and those that will not meet the required guidelines will be closed but let them first open them all,” he said.
On Tuesday morning Police roughed up and detained hundreds of traders at the Kisseka market and around other arcades who had forcefully opened businesses.
The government recently instituted a taskforce on COVID-19 that includes an arcade inspection team representing Kampala Arcades Advocacy to inspect arcades in order to reopen.
By 10th July, the team came up with a list of SOPs and forwarded them in advance to all arcade owners so as to give them time to prepare and put in place what was demanded.
This is after they realized that some arcade owners were failing to implement the Standard Operating Procedures.
The task force, which was split into 4 teams, inspected Royal Plaza, Grand Plaza, City House, Market Plaza, Magoba Arcade, Park Enkadde Plaza, Gazaland, Nabukeera, French Plaza, Total Arcade, Temuseo Plaza and Kizito Plaza. Others were Binco Plaza, Boost House, Giant Plaza, Grand Corner, and Naiga Arcade.
The inspection of arcades that is still ongoing has so far covered 84 arcades out of which 48(57%) were compliant and 35 arcades (43%) were still undergoing.