Kampala City Traders Association (Kacita) has petitioned Parliament over high interest rates on loans and other barriers that are threatening their businesses.
They say the cost of doing business is spiralling and demand government intervention.
While meeting the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Thomas Tayebwa, on Tuesday, traders said banks are charging exorbitant interest rates, adding that they need a special fund and import substitution funds to recover.
Mr Thadeus Musoke Nagenda, the chairperson of Kacita, said while government set up post Covid-19 recovery funds, members of the association have not benefited.
He said banks are already auctioning businesses, buildings and other assets that were used as collateral for borrowing money.
“We are trying as Kacita to lobby different government agencies and we are imploring your office to see how best you can assist our comrades while in such tricky situations,” Mr Musoke said.
He said: “Through you deputy speaker, we request you to see how this fund can be implemented urgently to save millions of traders who are excited about this fund to make sure we champion Ugandan products on the market.”
He said traders who support the strategy of import substitution have seen their businesses crumble because of high interest loans.
“We request the government to see how this strategy can be simplified because we are tired of struggling to travel to China or Turkey. If we can manufacture locally and we divert the normal traders and champion them into local investors, this can be a very vibrant effort to Uganda’s economy,” he said.
Mr Tayebwa referred the traders to the committee of trade, tourism and industry.
“I implored them to join UNBS in the fight against sub-standard products on the market and also support the government’s efforts in the fight against Ebola,” he twitted.
Earlier in the meeting, Mr Tayebwa said: “Parliament is always open for you, we value our relationship with you and we are also happy to see that strikes of Kacita have reduced. With dialogue and boardroom engagements, you will achieve more, but on the streets, you swallow more teargas and batons. So I want to encourage you [to continue] with this spirit of dialogue,” he said.
Mr Tayebwa added that the committee would meet the various stakeholders to ensure that the voices of the traders are amplified.