Uganda: Reopen Night Economy, Bar Owners Tell Govt

Bar owners and artistes have asked the government to allow them start operating next month, arguing that Covid-19 infections are down and majority of Ugandans have been vaccinated.

“Now that we have hit the target of vaccinating 7 million people, we should reopen in December.It will help us recover what we have lost [due to the lockdown since 2020]. We can’t wait until January because there is no serious business for the entertainment industry,” Mr Rugiirwa Katatumba, the chairperson of Bar, Club and Entertainment Owners Association told Daily Monitor yesterday.

The Bar, Club and Entertainment Owners Association has about 4,500 members countrywide and employs many people.

Mr Musa Ssali, alias Bebe Cool, a renowned musician, said beside threats of bomb blasts, there is no reason to keep their industry under lockdown.

Bebe Cool said artistes need money to take their children to school in January.

“December is a good month to restart the economy in a sector like ours that supports a lot of young people [because of festivals],” he said.

He added: “In January schools will reopen and people will need some money for fees for their children.”

President Museveni has kept Uganda’s night economy under lockdown since 2020, citing higher risk of spreading the coronavirus, among other risks.

So far, Uganda has lost 3,250 people since the outbreak of the pandemic and registered cumulative 127,230 cases.

Mr Museveni in October pegged the full reopening of the economy on vaccination of at least seven million Ugandans.

“We need to wait until December because by that time we shall have vaccinated seven million people and the crucial group are the people above the age of 50 and these account for 4.8 million people of the 7 million. Once we achieve this, we shall open with confidence that what we are doing is right,” he said.

But in an interview last week, Dr Jane Aceng, the Health minister, revealed that they have already vaccinated 7 million Ugandans.

“To date, we have nearly 4.8 million vaccinated; those are the statistics that have been entered in our system. However, we know from administrative records that more than seven million people have been vaccinated,” she said.

It is unclear whether this includes the 4.8m vulnerable people.

Mr Stephen Andrew Katende, alias Dre Cali, another local musician, said: “Many artistes have not been working for the past two years. When the bars are working, my work becomes easier and I get some money to feed my family.”

Asked whether the government will reconsider its position on the lockdown, Dr Monica Musenero, the senior presidential advisor on epidemics, said President Museveni’s communication remains cast in stone.

“If he changes he will change, but the top decision has already been made,” Dr Musenero said.


President Museveni has kept Uganda’s night economy under lockdown since 2020, citing higher risk of spreading the coronavirus among other risks.


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Author : Monitor

Publish date : 2021-11-25 08:02:26

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