June 26, 2013

Trader’s Strike Enters Day Two

The city trader’s strike against the pre-import verification of conformity standards fee entered its second day today. Several shops in Kampala central business district remained closed as Kampala City Trader’s Association-KACITA pushes to negotiate with government over the Pre-Import Verification of Conformity Standards fee.  

The traders argue that the fee is high compared to other East African Countries where the exercise is applied depending on the nature of business.  They are pushing for a flat rate.  Elias Nsubuga, a weighing scales dealer in Kikuubo says he will not open for business until he hears the outcomes of the meeting between KACITA and government.

Ssalongo Kakembo owns a retail shop in Kikuubo, which deals in general merchandise. Kakembo says that much as he would want to open for business he fears that he could be attacked by other traders for betraying their cause.

He suspects that traders are monitoring Kikuubo to see who will open during the ongoing strike. At shopping Arcade that is located opposite Total fuel pump station also Namirembe road shops remained closed. Private guards deployed at the building turned away whoever wanted to access it.

Despite the fact that most of the shops are closed, some of the traders decided to sell their merchandise on the streets but complained of low sales.

A trader who only identified himself as Kassim and deals in women’s handbags says he is pessimistic of making any sales. Kassim says it appears their customers have also joined the strike. Patience Yawe, a spare parts dealer at Qualicell plaza asked government to listen to their concerns saying they are not ready to pay the new fees. However, James Kayonde who deals in electronics at Titanic Plaza near Arua Park decided to open his business despite the ongoing strike.

Kayonde told the media that he cannot just sick back because his family depends on his business. He argues that without working he would it very difficult to provide for his family back home.

Everisto Kayondo, the KACITA Chairperson said they had resolved at a meeting with traders at Gabiro hotel in Kizito Complex to continue with the strike until they get word from Amelia Kyambadde, the Minister of Trade and Industry. Kayondo said they have scheduled a meeting with the minister on Monday July 1 to chat away forward.

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