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More than Half of Small Businesses May Close -KACITA

Hope Katwiine, the vice-chairperson of KACITA, an umbrella organization that brings together traders in Kampala, said the majority of their members lost capital when the lockdown was announced.
Smallscale traders who occupied spaces like these may take longer to get their businesses back up

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Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) has expressed fear that as many as 54% of the small scale businesses that operated in Kampala and surrounding areas may close due to the impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Hope Katwiine, the vice-chairperson of KACITA, an umbrella organization that brings together traders in Kampala, said the majority of their members lost capital when the lockdown was announced. She said others kept spending on water, food, and rent at home when they were not working while those who locked shops found most goods had expired.

She told a virtual meeting organized by NGOs Akina Mama Wa Afrika and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung that many of these businesses owned by women were not registered and don't keep records which means it will be harder to access any government help to survive. The meeting discussed how women-owned businesses can survive in the post-coronavirus world.

//Cue in 54% of small…

Cue out: … in their shops.”//

The nature of these businesses, where the owners rent more than five people in a particular shop in an arcade, has made it impossible to be opened early with fears that they could be a weak link to spread the virus. Only 48 arcades have been cleared to open this week, meaning longer wait for more businesses to resume.

KACITA’s fears rhyme with earlier findings in May by the United Nations Capital Development Fund that at least 4.4 million workers in the informal sector will either see their earnings fall below the poverty line or dry up completely.

The UNCDF report said that the smaller the business the more likely it will not survive the pandemic as the lockdown dragged on.

Catherine Wanyama, a trader in Nakawa, said while they were not working, money lenders who had given them money continued demanding that they payback.

She said on the borrowing of 250,000 shillings from money lenders, they are required to pay back 320,000 shillings after a month, an 18% interest. She said this depleted their savings and the little capital they would have used to start again.

Flavia Amoding, a programmes officer at the Uganda Workers Education Association, urged the government to give special attention to informal workers. She said they are less protected and most casual labourers in the formal entities also lost their jobs, a call for help. 

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