Entebbe, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A meeting of top government officials is underway at State House Entebbe to discuss the possible reopening of the remaining sectors of the economy, as the President prepares to speak to the Nation today.
The government started easing COVID-19 restrictions a month ago, after more than two months of a total lockdown that was announced as one of the measures to control the spread of COVID-19. But saloons, arcades, bars, and bodaboda businesses have remained closed, alongside churches, schools, and other public gatherings.
According to the President, the businesses that have remained closed are those where guidelines on social distancing cannot be enforced. However, last week, the Minister of Trade and Cooperatives Amelia Kyambadde announced that up to 48 arcades in Kampala had been recommended for reopening, but were awaiting a decision from the President.
The recommendation was the outcome of a series of inspections undertaken by Kampala Capital City Authority, the Ministry of Trade, together with various trader’s associations to ensure that arcades adhere to the guidelines set by the Ministry of Health to keep coronavirus disease at bay.
During the inspections, Kampala Capital City Authority – KCCA issued new guidelines requiring arcades to have a dedicated isolation room, for possible COVID-19 suspects, handwashing facilities, cleaners dressed in personal protective gear, and adequate detergents to use in cleaning.
Owners and operators were also advised to install closed Circuit Television Camera’s-CCTV at each entry, exit, and level and a body temperature screening for clients and attendants using functional infrared thermometers. According to the Ministers, with these gadgets in place, traders in the congested parts of Kampala would be able to detect and respond to COVID-19 alerts in their areas of operation.
Meanwhile, the meeting at State House has paralyzed business at Parliament where key government officials especially Ministers, have failed to show up, only indicating that they were attending an urgent meeting at State House. One of those affected is the Physical Infrastructure Committee of Parliament which was supposed to meet the office of the Attorney General to discuss the mandatory vehicle inspection contract by SGS.
Committee Chairperson Robert Kafeero Ssekitoleko says that the Attorney General William Byaruhanga had sent regrets to the committee over the same.
The meeting comes amidst concerns from a large section of the public on the effects of the prolonged closure of businesses, some of which have been forced to wind up, while several others are struggling to stay afloat