By Kasimbi Nelson Edward.
KAMPALA – Taking time to walk along different roads is enough to tell that the presidential directive of 7pm curfew, is adhered to. However, the president’s promise to open the economy fully in January 2022, is the night economy ready to take off the padlock on its long-closed door?
To date, night business operations are at a standstill, with its operators impatiently waiting for January 2020, president Yoweri Museveni to open the economy fully as he promised if at all his word does not change, because of the third invasion of SARS omicron coronavirus.
On Tuesday night, PML Daily took time to walk along different roads in Entebbe to paint a picture about the state of night businesses; however, business is still at a standstill, almost making two years.
With this, night businesses operators have stayed home cashless for a two-year’s period, which might be difficult for some to make their come back, with suspicion to have consumed capital to survive in the long lockdown put on the sector.
In his address, Ssendagire Joel, a bar owner in Kawuku, said the government should prepare to assist the bleeding business by giving out loans tonight business owners if the night revenue source to the government is to be revived.
“For almost two years, people with businesses that operate mostly at night have not been working. I even believe some have fed on their capital, and upon listening to Mr. Museveni speak about reopening the economy, landlords are sending messages reminding us to resume with rent fee, and yet we have been home for two years, so we are calling upon the government for assistance, or else many might not come back to business” said Ssendagire.
He notes that, night traders will encounter tough experiences since by that time everyone will be focusing on having their children back to school, a situation which is expected to challenge night traders.
“January we don’t expect to earn any coins, since everyone will be focusing on having their children back to class” he noted.
Nabwire Sofia observed that night businesses are at their knees, and to regain upon their reopening, support is needed. “The easy way to rejuvenate the affected businesses is to render traders supports,” Says Nabwire.
She goes ahead to call upon the government to reduce the taxes levied on such businesses, putting in mind that for the period of four two years, their operations were abolished to cut short the criminality that could be the order of the night, whenever one is at home observing the Ministry of Health guideline of cutting off the spread of Covid-19.
“Taxes should be reduced because traders have not been working, rather they have been home observing SOPs, it is done, night business owners shall use the money as capital to invest in their collapsing businesses,” she said.
However, Shadia Petwa an entrepreneur says, the night economy is ready to open, amidst the new variant. “According to the WHO, no sign of Covid-19 coming to an end, so the economy can’t wait anymore”
Night-time businesses don’t operate 24/7, such as bars, theaters, salons and barbers restaurants among others.
Night businesses, greatly contribute to the economic development of the country, since it is one of the avenues where the government collects revenue to support the economy, and folded hands, while the sector is facing up hills, is a disservice to the government since if little is collected as revenue, it becomes so difficult government to render services to the population.
Since the pandemic is here to stay, according to the Health Ministry, the advice is that businessmen and women should wake up and go to vaccination centers to avoid similar incidents, or even losing their lives while operating their businesses.