KAMPALA — Check points, hand washing points automatic spays and social distancing are among measures being considered by Crane Management Services, the real estate arm of Ruparelia Group to enable business resumption in arcades as traders decry continued closure of the industry.
Mr. Rajiv Ruparelia, the managing director of the group on Friday June 26 issued Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) to all tenants occupying the company buildings around Kampala, explaining in details, the company’s plan to address matter when lockdown is like lifted at all its buildings.
The businessman revealed that the company has implemented a raft of anti-coronavirus measures including foot pump hand washing machines, automatic sprays, gun temperature measures and massive security to enforce wearing facemasks.
“COVID-19 is not going to disappear soon [but] the question is how do we operate within its framework,” the businessman told tenants, revealing the company robust plans to control coronavirus.
“We will ensure that everybody wears a face mask and everyone observes the social distancing….we will control the number of people in the arcade at any one time.”
Rajiv called for a good working relationship between different parties including landlords, tenants and government.
He said landlords have played the role key among others putting in place measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus but “government has to intervene, such that in case landlords waive rent arrears, the Uganda Revenue Authority and utility providers should also give landlords a tax holiday”. This, he said, is in interest of everybody to ensure the survival of the tenants and those depending on them.
“They can start supporting their families again, because they have been closed for the last four months and they have no other sources of income”, he said. He added the continued closure creates a bigger threat to us and to the economy at large.
“A building is useless without tenants but tenants can’t operate without a building. So we are like a marriage and this marriage is very intimate, ” he said. “But unfortunately, government has not given any waivers to this industry. If you look at it, URA has only deferred their payments. They have not said that this year we are going to give special considerations where we are going to write off taxes for companies. If you look at NSSF, they have not given any conditions where companies can reduce the liabilities to pay NSSF. All they are saying is that if you’re not going to pay in February or March pay in August. But that is not solving a problem as an economy or for landlords. Now even the Central Bank has given some ease to the commercial banks and but does not tell the banks that we have given some special liquidity in order to be able to subsidize the interest that you will face because landlords cannot pay the banks”.
“When the tenant pays the landlord, the landlord takes the money and pays the bank.”
One of draft plans to ease anti-coronavirus restrictions, by government urges employers to minimise numbers using equipment, stagger shift times and maximise home-working.