Trade and Cooperatives minister Hon. Amelia Kyambadde has lashed out at security agents and clarified on what she called misconceptions in enforcement of President Museveni’s directive, in which public transport operations were temporarily banned and market closed as a measure to control spread of coronavirus.
Kyambadde said she was shocked to see enforcement agents closing shops and beating up people instead of explaining to them about the danger associated with coronavirus, and the purpose of the president’s directive.
“Why beat people? talk to them. Use community radios, sensitize people instead of beating them” She said LDU’s are the ones she has seen doing this.
The minister emphasized that shops that are not within food markets should continue to operate. She said Garment shops, Hair salons, Supermarkets and Archades and lock-ups should remain open but their administrators must ensure there are not more than 5 people inside one shop.
She also said said other misconceptions by security agents including closing of Stock shops and distribution centers, arresting of motor-cyclists who are not carrying passengers was a mistake. The directive she said targeted markets, public vehicles and -motorcyclists doing boda-boda business who are at a high risk of spreading the disease.
Kyambadde reiterated the concern of the public on hiked commodity prices saying the ministry has instituted an enforcement task-force led by the RDCs, DISOs and LC 1 Chairpersons to arrest traders who are found in violation of the president’s directive. She said the agents will first caution traders found selling commodities at exorbitant prices, but trading licences will be revoked if the violation persists.
She cautioned the business community against hoarding commodities which she attributed to hiked prices.
She said she has received concerns from the business community over restricted movement of cargo with vehicles being intercepted by enforcement agents under the pretext of stopping the spread of coronavirus.
“Let three people accompanying the cargo be allowed to freely move; A driver, co-driver and cargo owner, but don’t impound vehicles” she said. She however said the occupants of the vehicles must observe MOH guidelines including sanitizing at entry and exit points.
She said the President is set to talk to Central Bank to settle the concern of interest loans as the business community in Uganda struggle to shake off the uncertainty brought by the coronavirus outbreak.
Kyambadde said another concern has been foreign and local investors who have complained over harassment with people accusing them of carrying coronavirus, and non-certified sanitizers currently on Ugandan market. She also assured Ugandans that government will soon issue a pronouncement on the issue of water bills.
She said alcohol brewers have also complained about enforcement agents closing depots and arresting people found carrying beer, yet the directive targeted drinking places or bars.
She however appealed to Ugandans not to be complacent and to adhere to the guidelines set by the MOH to avoid the devastation the coronavirus has unleashed in several other countries.