Trade Minister, Amelia Kyambadde has clarified to the public that shops, arcades, supermarkets, boutiques, and salons are expected to remain open within this 14-day ban to enable people purchase items of their choice.
This comes after traders’ several shops were raided and closed by security in the name of orders to halt business operations countrywide by President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday.
Amelia says this was a misunderstanding because the president’s directives were meant to be applied to operations only in the market places and not outside as earlier misconstrued.
In his speech the head of state suspended the sale of non-food items in Markets but they should only deal with foodstuffs like matooke, sweet potatoes, cassava, rice, beans, peas, gnuts, beef chicken, fruits, vegetables among others.
The President directed the ban of public transport – buses, taxis, costa, boda bodas – as a measure to curb the COVID-19.
Kyambadde told reporters at Uganda Media Centre in Kampala that only those shops in fresh food markets should close. Food sellers remain operating.
The minister said periodical markets around the country are suspended and enforcement should ensure this is done.
The exception, Kyambadde said, is the fresh food markets like Nakasero, Kalerwe and
On utilities – that is water and electricity – Kyambadde said the government is concerned about the cost of utilities is considering reviewing the rates. She didn’t specify when this will happen.
She said the government would also look at the supply system so that “we are able to afford it.”
Uganda has so far registered 15 cases of COVID-19.
She also warned Police and Local Defence Units (LDU) teams to stop beating people and urged traffic officers to refer those breaking the directive on numbers permitted in vehicles, to simply have them turned back to their origin.
“Enforcement teams, LDUs and Police, should refrain from beating people. Please explain to them through the community radio towers in the local language,” Kyabadde said in a press briefing Thursday in Kampala.
PRESS STATEMENT ON ADDRESSING THE CONCERNS OF THE MANUFACTURING AND BUSINESS COMMUNITY DUE TO THE CORONA VIRUS/COVID-19
It is now public knowledge that the global pandemic of Corona Virus/COVID-19 is already in Uganda, with nine cases so far registered. In an effort to stem further spread of the virus which causes COVID-19; Government has instituted several measures including:
• closure of schools,
• restrictions on cross-border movements, and
• Public health guidelines, among others.
• Decongestion of Markets
• Regulating of transport and movement of persons.
I highly commend the Hon. Minister of Health and her team for their efforts in containing the outbreak of the corona virus in the Country.
To the Business Community – Manufacturers and Traders – as well as the general public, let us play our role by heeding the advice given to us, and ensure that we comply with directives and the measures that have been issued and instituted.
However, I have noted the Private sector have the following concerns;
• Trading across borders and Certainty of Supplies of Raw Materials and Consumer Goods All entry/exit points remain open, particularly for inward and outward movement of cargo. Only three people/ accompanying the cargo are allowed and they must observe the health regulations (such as sanitizing, handwashing, and being subjected to temperature checks) in place at the point of entry and long the transit routes.
• Customs and other Border Agencies are in place to provide services to enable expeditious clearance.
• Congestion of trucks at Malaba and Busia; we have negotiated and Kenya has now cleared Ugandan Trucks to enter their territory. Trucks are now entering the Country
• Hoarding of goods; Traders should desist from hoarding of goods which result in hiking of prices. Government implores the RDCs to head a task force comprising DISOs, DCOs, LCs, Security Committees and LDUs to ensure the defaulters and essential commodities. If the traders fail to comply; their licenses will be revoked and their premises sealed off.
A number of issues have been raised by the Business
• Financial Obligation:
The Private Sector has raised the following concerns;
• Inability to meet the statutory obligations such as; PAYE and Utilities
• Deferring of Bank loans,
• Flow of Imported Industrial inputs – negotiation with KRA on demurrage.
I will present all these issues to Government and shall communicate back the way forward.
Government has received information on the harassment of both foreign nationals and Uganda Business people who have recently come from abroad on suspicion of having COVID-19. I appreciate your strong awareness but let us handle them according to the law/ Ministry of Health Guidelines.
i. Harassing Foreign Business Persons: Harassment of foreign business persons merely on account of suspicion that they are COVID-19 positive because they come from a high risk country must stop forthwith. The law enforcement organs, particularly the Uganda Police Force, are asked to ensure that no such harassment takes place. Any suspicious cases, whether foreigners or local, should voluntarily report to the Ministry of Health or be reported to the Ministry of Health for professional management. In any case, returning foreigners and nationals are being placed under quarantine in line with medical recommendations. This is for the good of both the suspected patient and the general public.
ii. Payment for Utilities e.g. Water that support the implementation of Public Health Measures: Government is concerned about the increase cost especially water and is considering the review of the rates and supply system. I, therefore, urge the business community to continue providing protective gears.
iii. Supply of Sanitizers and other protective gears. All manufacturers of sanitizers are urged to ensure that their products are certified with UNBS. I have directed UNBS to fast-track the testing and Certification of these products. Manufacturers should apply on-line and UNBS will pick samples from their premises. It will take a maximum of seven days.
iv. All industries must be de-congested through allowing their workers to work in shifts.
v. Periodical markets, whether weekly or otherwise, are henceforth suspended. Local Authorities led by the RDC and a team comprising of DISOs, DCOs and DPCs and Chairmen LCV are asked to ensure that this suspension is observed. The exception is for those selling fresh food stuff, which must also observe the public health guidelines put in place by the Ministry of Health, and have access control to ensure that everybody accessing them washes their hands and sanitizes.
vi. FOOD MARKETS: To scale down the number of people in the markets and only allow those trading in food such as bananas, poultry, and meat.