City traders operating from Kabale Arcade, owned by Drake Lubega, are protesting an announcement of a 10% increase in their monthly rent. The notice, delivered through a memo, states that this elevated rent will take effect from November, with a deadline for payment set at November 5, 2023. Those unable to meet this deadline will be subject to a fine.
The traders, upon receiving this news, took to the streets in protest. They expressed their concerns about the sudden hike in rent and appealed to Lubega to reconsider his decision. Hassan Kimbugwe, one of the tenants, voiced their collective plea, emphasizing their financial limitations in covering the additional 10% fee.
Annet Nalumoso and Margaret Kunihira, among other traders, joined in the appeal for compassion from their landlord. They pointed out that many tenants were already struggling to pay the existing rent, leaving them perplexed about how to manage the additional charge. Holding placards during their protest, they called upon their leaders to engage in dialogue with Lubega and urged the Ministry of Trade to intervene in the matter.
Edward Ntale, Chairperson of the United Arcades Traders and Entrepreneurs’ Association, reassured the protesting traders that they were actively working to engage with Lubega. If these efforts proved unfruitful, they vowed to take their grievances to relevant government offices through a petition.
Drake Lubega, the landlord of Kabale Arcade, declined to comment on the situation when contacted. Other landlords who have been approached about similar rent increases have often cited rising taxes, including rental tax and property tax, as reasons for their decisions to raise rent.
Rent payments in city arcades are determined by the location of the shops. Those situated at the main entrance or along the roadside are charged between sh4 million and sh5 million per month. In contrast, shops on the first floor pay an average of sh2 million to sh3 million. Rent costs decrease as one moves higher up the building, depending on the nature of the business. The table below illustrates the typical rent structure in city arcades:
|Shop Location||Monthly Rent (in Ugandan Shillings)|
|Main Entrance/Roadside||4,000,000 – 5,000,000|
|First Floor||2,000,000 – 3,000,000|
|Higher Floors||Varies based on business type|