A row between traders and garbage collectors over new charges is threatening to spoil the sanity of Kampala city.
A section of Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) working in Kiyembe zone has threatened to pick battle with workers of Nabugabo Updeal Joint Ventures after the garbage people hiked monthly charges citing increased costs of doing business.
Traders have told The Sunrise that Nabugabo Updeal workers hiked their monthly charges from Ushs15, 000 per shop.
This has angered most traders who argue that they already pay for garbage collection in form of trading license to Kampala Capital City Authority.
The traders’ leader in Kiyembe zone Rajab Bukenya has rallied his colleagues not to pay the new fees over what he termed as an outrageous increment.
Bukenya told The Sunrise that Nabugabo Updeal officials have twice snubbed a meeting to which he recently called them to resolve the matter.
Instead Bukenya argues, the garbage collectors have threatened to close shops that fail to pay up.
Bukenya has retorted: “If they want to use force, we are ready this time to respond in no less than equal measure. No trader is going to pay any money until this confusion is sorted out. And we shall wait for them to come and close any one of our traders’ shops and they will see fire!”
Bukenya’s call was backed by KACITA’s Chief Executive Officer Moses Kalule who blamed “this confusion” on Kampala Capital City Authority (KCC A) which he says bears the “mandate of cleaning the city.”
Kalule argues that it is wrong to burden Kampala traders with the cost of collecting garbage on top of paying trading licenses and income tax to KCCA.
Kalule says: “Nabugabo Updeal Partnership was contracted by KCCA under terms the two parties agreed on. It is therefore an obligation for KCCA to pay for garbage disposal and not the traders.”
The traders further complain that the dues are not uniformly charged with some traders paying Ushs 10,000, while others pay 15,000 and others as much as Ushs30,000 per month.
Kikuubo Business Community Chairman Haji Katimbo Muhammad agrees with KACITA although he discouraged the idea of protesting for fear of disrupting “a busy trading season.”
“If they have made any increment without the knowledge and consent of our office, I assure them it is null and void. Even when they wanted to increase the dues from Ushs 9000 to 10000, they first requested us and we agreed with our traders before they started collecting the money from our people,” said Katimbo.
Nakivubo Updeal Partnership project manager Abu Ssonko told The Sunrise that they raised charges by just Ushs5000 for every category of their clients including among others washing bays, salons and retailers who form the bulk of Kampala’s garbage generators.
He explained that the contract they signed with KCCA allows them to collect up Ushs30,000 although “We have been charging only Ushs10,000 since 2004 until it became unsustainable owing to rising operational costs including fuel, workers’ salaries among other expenses.”
Nakivubo Updeal Partnership was contracted by KCCA to collect garbage in Kampala business District in May this year. Other private companies contracted to render similar sanitation services in other parts of Kampala are Home Clean services, and Kampala Solid Waste Consortium.
KCCA Deputy Spokeserson Robert Kalumba denied knowledge of the traders’ complaints on the matter but promised that KCCA will investigate and intervene in the matter.