UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | The government has asked landlords not to evict tenants who are struggling to pay their rent during this second lockdown. The insidious COVID-19 pandemic has not only negatively impacted Uganda as a whole but, more specifically, city traders.
On June 18, 2021, President Museveni announced a total lockdown for the entire country because of increasing COVID-19 cases. We are just about halfway through the 42-day lockdown, but it has affected many Ugandans, particularly those in the informal sector, as most city traders closed their shops. Without access to their shops and customers, many vendors have lost revenue and supplies and cannot pay their shop rent.
City traders wrote to government authorities seeking help against landlords who insisted on prompt payment of July’s rent or they would face severe fines. Some vendors’ stock has been seized for non-payment, and others still have outstanding balances from the first lockdown period.
On July 6, 2021, Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister of ICT and National Guidance, said that landlords should not evict tenants should they fail to pay rent.
Mr Baryomunsi further explained, “landlords shouldn’t evict tenants or force them to pay rent when they are not earning revenue. Let Ugandans, particularly those who are landlords, be lenient, be understanding because all of us are being affected by COVID-19.”
Additionally, the Minister urged landlords and tenants to restructure payment terms since people have been unable to work.
He went on to say, “we are also engaging banks and financial institutions to do the same when it comes to loans.”
Banks and financial institutions are working on restructuring repayment to ease pressure caused by the lockdown that will contain the second wave of the pandemic.
Many vendors have to walk long distances to get to the market. Even then, they find their shops shuttered by landlords. Many city traders have gone a step further to protect their shops by sleeping over in the markets.
Bashir Muwonge, the Area Chairman, said that without help, shops might not survive.
“The economy is crashing because people can no longer maintain their businesses,” he explained.
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