Speaker Among Urges Dialogue to Resolve Kampala Traders’ Strike

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The Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, has called for dialogue between city traders and the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to address the issues raised during the ongoing strike.

This comes after the traders under the Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) have again closed their shops today April 16, 2024, protesting against the implementation of the Electronic Fiscal Receipting and Invoicing System (EFRIS) for collecting value-added tax (VAT) and other concerns related to taxation in the garments business.

Speaker Among emphasized that a peaceful resolution through dialogue is the best approach, while also criticizing the responsible ministries for their lack of involvement in resolving the matter and preventing the strike.

“These types of issues should be dealt with at their source, without involving parliament or burdening the president with matters that can be resolved through direct engagement,” expressed Among during a press conference. She further highlighted the failure of ministers to address the traders’ concerns, which ultimately led to the closure of shops today, with no intervention from Members of Parliament (MPs).

Among voiced her dissatisfaction stating, “The ministers in charge should have taken initiative and met with the traders to resolve their problems instead of shifting the responsibility to the President. I recently learned that the traders were scheduled to meet with the President, which clearly indicates that the ministers are overburdening him.”

However, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Joel Ssenyonyi, stressed the urgency of the matter and called for the executive to take immediate action. Ssenyonyi referred to the recent protest held by Kampala traders on April 8, 2024, where they decried what they perceived as an unfair taxation policy by the URA. As a result, numerous arcades and malls in the city have remained closed, exacerbating the situation and affecting the business community.

With both the Speaker and the Opposition Leader advocating for swift action and dialogue, there is increasing pressure on the executive to engage with the traders and find a resolution that addresses their concerns. The traders’ strike has already caused significant economic disruptions to businesses and the wider community in Kampala.

Efforts are now underway to arrange a meeting between representatives of the traders, URA officials, and relevant government ministries to facilitate the meeting with the President on Friday, April 19, 2024, and reach a mutually beneficial solution. The hope is that this meeting will serve as a platform for resolving the contentious issues surrounding taxation policies and the implementation of the EFRIS system, ensuring the resumption of normal business activities in Kampala.

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