Kampala, Uganda | URN | Business owners in shopping malls around Kampala are decrying low turn up of customers as they reopened last week.
President Yoweri Museveni last week allowed shopping malls to reopen as he partially lifted the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown that had lasted over two months.
When our reporter visited Acacia Mall, Equatorial Mall, Oasis Mall among others the business owners complained about low turn up. Although most business owners were seen re-stocking their shops, they are worried about the low numbers of customers.
Jackie Apio, a business owner working in Equatorial shopping mall and dealing in shoes said she has only received two customers ever since she reopened her shop last week.
“On top of the hiked transport fares that are forcing me to foot, the landlords are also asking for rent for the last three months. I can’t even feed myself while spending a day in this shop because money is nowhere to be seen and yet customers are also no where to be seen,” says Apio.
Jessica Nazzimula, another trader dealing in electronics working in Acacia Mall said some people are just entering the mall to pass time by taking walk since the place has got a good environment.
Adding that “I have not received any customer per now, but we also understand that people don’t have money at the moment. So we have to bear with the situation until things come back to normal.”
Nazzimula noted that before the lockdown, customers would come in big numbers in Acacia Mall buying merchandise on a daily basis and business owners could stock on a weekly basis.
However, in Kikuubo shopping area, the situation is different with people crowding the place.
Sam Bafirawala Muyomba, the in-charge of Publicity and General Duties at the Kikuubo Business Community Association says the overcrowding is due to the continued closure of arcades.
The arcades had never been opened since the end of March when President Museveni directed a lockdown on both transport and non- food business.
He says that after the President lifted a ban on transport, many of the traders who have shops inside arcades have now taken to the verandas to sale their products making it hard for authorities in the business area to enforce some of the precautionary measures.