The E-Trade Association recognizes and appreciates the great work of the Government of Uganda and the Covid-19 task force in containing the pandemic. It is because of the bold, timely and decisive government actions and the sacrifice of Ugandan citizens and businesses that deaths from Covid-19, primarily the Delta variant, remained very low by any local or global measure. The E-Trade Association greatly welcomes the pragmatism of the January opening of schools, the future human capital of this great nation, and the full opening of key sectors of the economy. The opening of the economy gives Uganda a good chance at recovering from the dire economic strain that the restrictions placed on people due to covid-19 risks.

The E-Trade Association, an umbrella organization that converges companies and organizations that use the power of the internet to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in Uganda, calls for the removal of the motorcycle taxi (boda) ban after 7pm to enable access to affordable transportation mobility for all Ugandans. The current difficult 7pm curfew leaves us asking many questions: How will the majority of Ugandans who rely on boda bodas get home at 9pm after work? How will factory workers who work the late shift get home? Will supermarkets stay open late? Less than 1% of Ugandans own a car so this is not an option and Matatu (Taxi) coverage past 7pm is very limited and unsafe for users to walk from a taxi stage and reach the door of their home late hours after work. The answer to these questions is clear; boda boda transportation provides a safer, efficient, affordable, convenient, last-mile and door-to-door, service country-wide. Banning Boda Bodas after 7pm will therefore make the journey back home on foot at night very dangerous for all Ugandans especially women, the elderly, and disabled.

As a representative of businesses large and small, the Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry makes a statement on this concern:
“The Boda-Boda Industry is the second largest employer in Uganda after Agriculture and it provides a livelihood for close to seven million citizens in Uganda who would otherwise be engaged in illegal and illicit activities. It is also largely considered one of the cheapest and most effective modes of transport that facilitates business engagement. Research has indicated the Boda-Boda industry has revolutionalised the economy through bridging the gap of unemployment especially in the youth today. Keeping the Industry under restricted movement (curfew) when the economy has finally opened up after two years is a dis-service to the Business community that heavily relies on it as a primary facilitator for their business engagement in regards to the ease of movement of goods, services and personnel from one place to another.

The government should therefore reconsider its directives and instead train and emphasize the good practices on motorcycles operations in addition to establishment of a well updated database on commercial motorcycle activities for their sustainability and a regulated legal framework to the aspirations of the operators, customers and other road users” says Owomugisha Blessing Immaculate, Ag. Secretary General – Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In Uganda, motorcycles enable millions of people to have the chance to participate in the
economy everyday – getting to the market, delivering supplies, getting home after work, visiting a friend, getting to a meeting on time. The sector is very important, directly employing over 1.2 million people. Boda bodas enable many small and medium scale businesses such as restaurants, bars, gyms and supermarkets to stay open late because employers are assured that there is an affordable last mile means of transportation that their employees can use to get home safely.

“Ever since the curfew was imposed, the best I could do was get daily food for my family, which many times has been quite difficult with the curfew restrictions. Now that schools and the economy have reopened, I still do not know how I am going to take care of my two sons and little daughter when the situation has not changed for me. I was hopeful when the President announced that the economy would be open this year. I knew all would be well because I would go back to making some money from my customers. especially the party goers. Now I am left wondering where will I get money to support my family? I wonder what boda bodas did to the government,” says a Boda-boda rider in Kawempe division.

Whereas matatus or taxis remain a key transport service in Uganda, they are unable to go to the last mile, and cannot get people directly home. A 7pm curfew for boda bodas therefore means that businesses that could have stayed open longer will close earlier for the safety of their employees. This fact alone defeats the purpose of reopening the economy if people can not stay a little longer to make the money they have missed to make for the last two years.

E-Trade Association together with its partners calls upon the business community, regulators and general public to participate in the petition to end boda curfew through signing the petition

We seek to engage Government decision makers to consider allowing economic growth and prosperity by lifting the ban on transportation. As an association with deep understanding of business and employment, we believe this can only be achieved if the Government removes the 7pm Boda curfew to enable access to affordable transportation mobility for all Ugandans.

About E-Trade Association
The E-Trade Association of Uganda converges companies and organizations that use the power of the internet to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in Uganda. Members include some of the most innovative companies in Uganda, all growing employment and attracting foreign direct investment into Uganda. The E-Trade represents technology companies in sectors that include restaurants, hotels, retail traders, manufacturers, distributors, tourism, and players in the mobility sector.

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