Traders in Kyenjojo town council were this morning left stranded after law enforcement officers closed their shops over none payment of trade license fees. Last month, Kyenjojo town council increased the license fees effective July 1st 2011.
Traders in Kyenjojo town council were this morning left stranded after law enforcement officers closed their shops over none payment of trade license fees. Last month, Kyenjojo town council increased the license fees effective July 1st 2011. License fees for wholesale shops were increased from 50,000 shillings to 80,000 shillings a month, while that of small business operators was raised from 30,000 shillings to 60,000 shillings per month.
The town council authorities gave the traders a grace period of two weeks to pay the fees.
This morning, law enforcement officers swung into action and closed several shops whose license fees has not been cleared grounding business in the town.
The town centre, which is usually noisy, was quiet. Some traders could be seen seated in front of their shops pondering their next move. At Kyenjojo- Nyakwanzi road, out of the twenty shops, only one shop was open, while at Kyenjojo-Katooke road, all the fifteen shops were closed. Police was also deployed in the town, but there were no incidents of violence.
The closure of the shops also affected residents of the town, who were forced to purchase items from distant trading centers like Rugombe and Kahiura. Charles Mwesige, a trader says that it is unfair for the town council to increase the fees at a time when there are economic hardships in the country. Mwesige says that he has been getting few customers because of the high commodity prices, and therefore she can’t afford to pay the license fees.
He also wants the town authorities to halt the increase until the economic situation in the country stabilizes.
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Beatrice Kajumba, a trader says that she will close her business because she can not afford to pay the license fees. But in a telephone interview Twine Twaha, the Mayor Kyenjojo town council defended the increase of the licenses fees. He says that in the past the town council’s local revenue has been low and yet it requires funds to renovate the town council roads, construct water sources and more shops and markets for the traders.
Twine also says that the council is planning to increase the rental fees of the market stalls. The traders are planning to hold a meeting with Twine in the afternoon over the matter