Kampala – Boda Boda riders in Gulu District are struggling to pay loans amidst the lockdown.
While addressing the nation, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, on Friday, June 18, sanctioned a 42-day total lockdown banning both interdistrict private and public transport, suspended bodaboda riders ferrying passengers in efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus
Boda-boda riders were permitted to carry cargo and merchandise up to 5 pm.
As a result, most riders within Gulu City have opted to park their motorcycles at home with a handful defying the ban and carrying passengers in a bid to fend for their families.
Reagan Komakech, a Boda –Boda Rider in Gulu City acquired a motorcycle loan and has been paying UGX70,000 each week for the last year and two months.
According to Komakech, he is still left with over 2 million shillings to complete the loan but unable to raise the required 70,000 shillings during the lockdown.
According to Komakech, he hardly raises UGX5,000 daily and yet he also has a family to look after besides paying the loan.
Komakech also added that he tried engaging the lender for rescheduling the loan payment, but they threatened to withdraw his motorcycle and disregard the money he has already paid.
Thomas Obol, a businessman man who makes energy saving stoves says that he borrowed 10 million shillings from DFCU Bank in May this year and is supposed to pay UGX1.2 million monthly.
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Obol revealed that his movement to buy materials and sell the stoves has been hindered during the ongoing lockdown making it impossible to raise money to service the loan.
Emmy Ocen, the Speaker of Gulu City Boda –Boda Association says because of the challenges the riders are facing due to the lockdown, some of them have started flouting the presidential guidelines by carrying passengers and using feeder roads.
Ocen asked the government to intervene to help the Boda –Boda Riders with food so that the little money they get out of carrying luggage, they use is for other things like servicing their loans.
One of the Managers at Watu Credits, a motorcycle loaning company says they are handling their clients on a case by case.
Bernard Ogwal, the Regional Manager of Stanbic Bank, says that the most affected among their clients are those in the transport business. He explains that they are in dialogue with all their clients who are servicing loans to find mutual ground for both parties.
David Mudong Onogm, the Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson however accused a section of Boda –Boda rider of fraudulently obtaining health movement permits to allow them to carry passengers who are not sick. He says they are investigating the matter and very soon the culprits shall be brought to book.