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Business disrupted in downtown Kampala as some traders close shops

By Rodgers Akwesiga


Business disrupted in downtown Kampala as some traders close shops

Business activities in downtown Kampala, particularly in the Kikuubo hub, have been disrupted as some traders opted to close their shops in protest over various concerns regarding business operations.

These concerns include issues with tax policy and administration, particularly the enforcement of the electronic Fiscal Receipting and Invoicing Solution (EFRIS), which traders allege is unfair.

Additionally, there are grievances regarding trader and manufacturer relations, among other issues. Most of the closed businesses in Kikuubo are affiliated with the Federation of Uganda Traders’ Associations (FUTA), which advocates for the interests of the business community in the central business district.

Today’s closure goes against the call for calm and dialogue from the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), as well as the deadline set by the Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) for April 16th.

John Kabanda, the president of FUTA, expressed frustration over the lack of solutions from the government despite several meetings with responsible authorities. He accused other associations like KACITA of siding with the government instead of supporting the traders’ concerns.

Over the weekend, URA and PSFU held a meeting to address the issues at hand, emphasizing the importance of continued dialogue and engagement among stakeholders. It was agreed that URA, in collaboration with PSFU, will open an office in Kikuubo to provide business support services and address tax-related matters.

John Musinguzi, the URA Commissioner General, reiterated that EFRIS is not a new tax policy but a tax administration measure aimed at collecting VAT. He emphasized URA’s readiness to review operational concerns and urged traders to adopt voluntary compliance measures.

Sarah Kagingo, the Vice Chairperson of the PSFU board, highlighted the importance of engagement and intervention to prevent disruptions in the business environment. She acknowledged the efforts made by the government and its agencies to find a solution to the impasse.

However, Thaddeus Musoke, the KACITA Chairperson, distanced the association from the meeting held with URA and PSFU, maintaining that its resolutions do not align with the traders’ demands. He emphasized the need for the president’s intervention and a meeting with all relevant stakeholders to address the issues effectively.

“We only look forward to the planned meeting with the president. It seems he is the only one who can solve these issues because we have tried all possible ways, and they have since failed. So we want to meet the president when every responsible MDA is present to present our case as they present their reasons as well.”


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