Government sets terms for Nakumatt to pay suppliers
Kampala, Uganda | JULIUS BUSINGE |Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Trade has given Nakumatt Holdings, a regional retail chain up to end of this month to have secured an investor to clear arrears for suppliers and landlords .
In an interview with The Independent on the sidelines of the ongoing 5th Economic Forum organised by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda in Entebbe on July 19, the Assistant Commissioner for Trade at the Ministry, Abdul Kasule, said the assurance must be positive, if not, the ministry will take action.
One action available, according to Kasule is for government to publically tell the private sector to stop dealing with the retailer as other mechanisms are put in place to help suppliers get their arrears.
When asked about the number of suppliers affected and the money involved, Kasule said: “We don’t have those figures at the moment but what we know is; there are suppliers who have not been paid. That (money) will follow after the end of this month.” Kasule said the ministry has the mandate to help suppliers in such a situation.
In October last year, the retail chain, with 61 stores across East Africa, announced that it was in talks with an investor who would acquire a 25% stake or more so as to recapitalise the struggling business entity. But nothing has materialised to-date.
Meanwhile, Kasule said the ministry has finalised with drafting Supermarket Guidelines that are yet to go to Cabinet for approval to assist government to monitor operations of supermarkets in Uganda to avoid the current quagmire.
Currently, Uchumi, another Kenyan retailer has not paid over Shs 10 billion to Ugandan suppliers due to business deadlocks.