UGANDA, Arua | Real Muloodi News | Arua City Hotel owners in Central Division are demanding better services from the authorities.
The hotel owners say they are facing multiple challenges that are affecting their businesses. According to the hoteliers, local services including water, street lights, and access roads are in a terrible state, which are causing them to lose customers.
During a meeting with the Central Division leadership on March 29, Ivan Bongo, the manager of Desert Breeze Hotel, representing hotel owner Michael Oluma, spoke about how the power blackouts in town constantly affects their business. He also pointed out that the roads leading to their hotel are very bad.
Furthermore, Oluma said the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for hotels to attract customers. Yet despite the authorities being aware that the affected hotels going for weeks without customers, many have been locked due to non-payment of local taxes.
To address these issues, the hotel owners have called on the Division to provide better services and support to help them stay in business.
Jackson Atima Lee Buti, the Arua Central Division MP, acknowledged the challenges faced by the hotel owners but encouraged them to still be tax compliant. He emphasised the importance of paying taxes to help the Division provide better amenities and services.
“I want to urge the hotel owners to support the Division in terms of paying taxes. It is through paying taxes that certain amenities can be put in place. The challenges you are facing can be addressed nationally or locally when you pay taxes, and I would want you to be tax compliant, including me, and it is by the Constitution that we pay taxes to develop our country,” Atima said.
Atima, who is himself a hotelier who has been in the hotel business for 12 years, says he knows the challenges that the hotel owners go through, and urged the town clerk and the city mayor to support them.
Atima appealed to the technical leadership of the Division to ensure that the roads leading to hotels within the Division have street lights, while they wait for the government of Uganda to provide bulk power connectivity.
He emphasized that these hotels are the face of the city, and it is important to address the challenges they face, particularly the issue of poor street lighting and black spots where customers are robbed, phones are stolen, and people are threatened, leading to a decline in hotel patronage.
“The taxes these people pay, why don’t you ensure that street lights are on? Actually, two weeks ago, Arua City was completely dark but when people heard that the President was coming, when I came back from Kampala, I found when all the streets are lit and when the President goes back, they will go off. What are we doing TC? This is bad, it is unfair. You are lighting the streets because the President is coming but the moment he goes back, I don’t know whether you remove those solar panels, you remove the batteries, what do you people do, I think this must stop!” Atima warned.
Additionally, Atima expressed his concern about the poor state of roads leading to hotels and called on the Town Clerk to fight corruption. He stressed that the government continues to inject money for road maintenance in Arua city, but the money is not reflecting on the ground.
“As I talk now, we have USh500 million lying idle. This is the money that should have been used to maintain these roads that go to hotels but Town Clerk, you have a lot to do. I’m just putting this to you, I know you are new, but know that some of your predecessors didn’t do certain things. This is money for this financial year, but the money which was sent for road maintenance in the previous quarter is almost USh800 million and we don’t know where it went,” Atima exclaimed.
Malik Drakuma, the new Arua Central Division Town Clerk, pledged to work with the hotel owners to make the city better.
“I will also support you Hon. MP Atima because it is all about how we are going to transform our city, how are we going to make our city better than talking about Gulu. To me that is it, so I have pledged my total support to work with you and everyone,” Drakuma said.
He commended the MP for his guidance and expressed his commitment to transform the city and provide better services to the hotel owners.
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