Almost all shops in downtown Kampala remain closed as traders start their three-day strike.
The traders want Government and Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) to remove the Pre- export Verification Conformity (PVoC). The PVoC programme is meant to weed out counterfeit goods on the local market.
Shops along major streets including Wilson Road, William Street, Burton Street, and Arua Park are closed. Kikuubo Lane, which is arguably the busiest business area in downtown Kampala, is also closed with trailers that were supposed to be offloaded just parked by the road side. Also closed in Kisekka Market.
Some traders can be seen outside their shops but none of them is opening for business.
Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde held a meeting with the traders on Monday hoping to stop them from closing their shops. In the meeting, Kyambadde announced that traders should pay for the verification of goods that they intend to import in the country under the PVoC.
Issa Ssekitto, the spokesperson of the Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA), says that as a traders association they go with what the individual members decide. Ssekitto claims that their counterparts in Masaka, Mityana and Mbale are also preparing to join the strike.
Police has deployed heavily with both motorized and foot patrols on most streets of Kampala as a result of the strike. Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander, Andrew Felix Kaweesi, says the deployment is meant to monitor the situation.
In January 2012 the traders also staged a three-day strike to protest the high interest rates on bank loans. The strike was after the traders failed to strike a compromise with private bank operators and the Bank of Uganda to reduce the Central Bank Rate-CBR, which determines the lending rates.