KAMPALA – Owners of arcades, including Mr Hamis Kiggundu, Mr Sudhir Ruparelia, Mr Kirumira Godfrey and Mr Rashid Ssemambo, have told government that they are not ready to waive rent arrears for their tenants.
According to the landlords, they have bank loans that they are paying on top of paying utility bills such as water and power for the buildings.
The landlords made the revelation while meeting Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde at the weekend.
Ms Kyambadde was conveying his message from the President, in which he was appealing to the landlords not to demand for rent arrears of three months when the traders have not been working due to the lockdown over Covid-19.
However, Mr Kiggundu said they can only give ample time to the tenants to pay their arrears but not forgiving them.
“We cannot forego that rent, unless the government is willing to pay us. Do you want banks to take our buildings over failure to pay their loans?” Mr Kiggundu said.
“We are ready to work hand in hand with our tenants on how they should pay their arrears. We shall not put them on pressure because they are not the ones who caused the pandemic,” he added.
In response, Ms Kyambadde said she will report to Cabinet on the way forward.
“This issue has become so complicated because the landlords are not ready to forego rent arrears. They are instead saying they are going to allow the tenants to access their shops but pay arrears later,” she said.
“I have to go back to Cabinet before a final decision is made. I cannot take a decision by myself because it is very complicated. Cabinet will decide on this matter,” the minister added.