Parliament has asked the government to consider scrapping the 9:00 pm-6:00 am curfew citing hindrance to many people’s businesses.
The Ugandan Parliament has asked the government to consider scrapping the 9:00 pm-6:00 am curfew citing that it is a hindrance to many people’s businesses.
Following the outbreak of coronavirus in March 2020, the government imposed among other guidelines, a night curfew as one of the measures to control the spread of the COVID-19.
President Museveni explained last year that the curfew curtails people from gathering in trading centres at night and engaging in activities that can result in the further spread of the virus.
However, during Tuesday’s Parliamentary sitting, the speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga gave the government up to Tuesday next week to explain the reasons for sticking with the curfew at a time when the country is already showing positive signs in controlling the virus.
The Speaker of Parliament who was also in support of having the curfew lifted or extended raised concerns that every time she travels to the village she has to devise means of how she can be back in Kampala before 9 pm.
Kadaga’s statement came after the Parliament Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa raised the case on the floor of Parliament.
Nankabirwa said the curfew is not only hitting hard the economy but is also affecting many people’s businesses at a time when many are still trying to bounce back from the effects posed by the COVID-19.
“Many businesses for example the road side vendors utilize this time to make some money but because of the curfew their businesses were affected but remember they also have families and children to look after,” Nankabirwa said.
Other legislators including the Joseph Ssewungu of Kalungu West said that many motorists have had to pay fines of not less than sh50,000 for being caught riding past their 6:00 pm curfew.
“Whereas motor vehicles are allowed to move up to 9:00pm, motorcycles are barred from any form of movement beyond 6:00 pm. This is a challenge because many boda boda cyclists have heard to pay more than sh50,000 as a fine for working past their time yer many make about sh10000 a single day,” MP Ssewungu said.
Relatively, the Kawempe North legislator, Latif Ssebaggala also raised concerns that Muslims are going to be affected by the curfew especially as the month of Ramadan first approaches.
“The month of Ramadan is coming where we are expected to pray up to 10:00 pm, how are we going to fulfill this when the curfew is 9:00 pm. It should either be reviewed or completely scrapped because it is very irrelevant,” Ssebaggala noted with concern.
However, this comes at a time when some businesses more so the entertainment industry have spent nearly a year under lockdown.
Despite all plans raised by those concerned on how they can resume work under proper guidelines, the government has since insisted, the sector can result in the further spread of the virus if mismanaged.
According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) report for 2019, the entertainment sector was contributing Shs141.5 billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
With all these hindrances now, the evidence is clear government has also been hit by the sector’s operations put on a standstill.