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Bombs, Lockdown Slow Down Kampala’s Christmas Season Business

Kikuubo in downtown Kampala is always a hive of activity towards the festive season

The continued  Covid lockdown and the recent bomb attacks in the city have been cited as the major factors slowing business in Kampala in the would be Christmas season boom.

Usually, beginning August through December, Kampala gets a business upturn as Ugandans prepare for the festive season starting with Christmas up to the New Year.  

Unlike in the past however, this year traders are crying foul, as the would be business boom is not happening owing to the Covid-19 lockdown and the bomb attacks.  

Sharon Nabadda, a garments wholesaler says business would start as early as August as upcountry retailers stocked for the season. But business was still down this November down and the bomb blasts added insult to injury.  

Nabadda added that moderately serious transactions only take place for two days of the week and the rest of the week is unpredictable, yet in the previous years they could even work on Christmas day selling to the late buyers.

She says previously, an average trader could make between 1.5 million shillings to 3 million shillings in daily sales but now it is between shillings 500,000 and 1.5 million.

A dealer in children’s clothes, Primrose Nalumansi says there has been no season these two years as Covid lockdown disrupted everything.

Nalumansi mentioned that it seems parents are focusing on taking their children back to school come January, the rest are looked at as luxury.

John Kalanzi a shoe seller, called upon government to work towards building more confidence amongst Ugandans.

According to traders, the curfew is yet another hindrance to their operations as they forced to close their businesses early in order to catch up with the prohibited movement time.

The Covid lockdown also restricted cash flow amongst people, the traders complain, saying now people restrict spending to very essential items.   

However, some traders acknowledge that this trend has been going on for some time. They say bomb blasts and lock have little to contribute to the situation, and attribute the collapse of business in the city to the growth of townships which have nearly everything one would look for in Kampala.  

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