The Minister of Trade Amelia Kyambadde and Minister for Kampala Betty Amongi are set to meet city traders today Tuesday to determine that fate of re-opening arcades.
In yesterday’s cabinet meeting it was agreed that two ministers meet traders to agree on the way forward as far as reopening their workplaces is concerned.
The meeting comes at a time when Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) had ordered city traders to forcefully open their shops in arcades.
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.
Meanwhile, by Tuesday morning, some specific arcades in Kampala had been surrounded by police and armed UPDF soldiers in a move to prohibit anybody from accessing them. Traders who have forcefully tried to open their shops have been beaten and arrested by combined security forces.
Recently, traders and arcade owners accused scientists in the Ministry of Health of misleading the President to keep their buildings closed in the wake of Covid-19 instead of focussing on the danger caused by crowded streets.
They said stringent safety measures were put in place before the lockdown and that some of the traders, who have poured on the street as a result of closing arcades, are posing even greater risk than if they were operating from inside the arcades.
Arcades were closed in March 2020 as one of the ways to control the spread of covid-19 pandemic.
During his state of the nation address on covid-19 in June, President Museveni said arcades would remain closed until they are cleared by the Ministry of Health and other Covid-19 response teams to reopen again.
“Arcades should remain closed but the covid-19 taskforce together with KCCA and Ministry of Health should select some arcades to pilot safety measures before opening all of them,” Museveni noted.
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