Businessman Drake Lubega has refused to open his arcades in downtown Kampala even after being cleared by government to operate, saying the traders must first clear their rent arrears.
According to Mr Lubega, it is now about four months since the buildings were closed and yet he has been keeping the traders’ merchandise for free on top of incurring other bills like deploying security guards.
His buildings include Energy Center, Totale City plaza, Qualicell Bus Terminal, Jamboli, Pentagon City Plaza, Jesco plaza , Titanic Plaza, Atalanta, Jesco Beauty Centre, Majestic, Min price, Austria plaza, ESCO plastics and Katonga City complex, among others.
President Museveni on Tuesday announced that “some arcades” will be allowed to reopen – provided they have fulfilled the standard operating procedures.
The President says that there are altogether 230 arcades. Of these, 171 were inspected, out of which only 110 were found to be compliant with required guidelines.
Last month, Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde met city landlords including Hamis Kiggundu who represented the landlords who were absent, Dr Sudhir Rupaleria, Mr Kirumira Godfrey, Dr. Ntaganda Ephraim, Ssemambo Rashid and Dr. Margret Ssekidde to discuss the possibility of waiving rent arrears for the traders.
However, the landlords refused, saying that they cannot waive off the rent arrears because the government has also not waived off the taxes and the utilities like water and electricity they have been paying.
They said they are ready to give ample time to the tenants when arcades are reopened to pay their arrears but they cannot waive off.