KAMPALA – Crane Management Services-CMS has issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) that tenants renting any of their properties in Kampala should consider as government eases restrictions on the COVID-19 lockdown.
Mr. Rajiv Ruparelia, the CMS Managing Director on Friday, June 26 issued the SoPs, but said that although they have put in place measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, government has to intervene, such that in case landlords waive rent arrears, the Uganda Revenue Authority and utility providers should also give landlords a tax holiday.
“COVID-19 is not going to disappear soon. So the question is how do we operate within its framework?” asked Rajiv, adding that the measures CMS have put in place are quite simple.
“We have already ordered for many hand wash stations that will be placed at every entrance of the building,” he said.
“These hand wash basins are not going to be operated with your hands but a foot pump. So you don’t have contact with the opening and closing of the water,” he added.
According to Rajiv, there will be sprays where you put your hands for washing as soap is released automatically.
As a way to control and ensure all proposed SOPs are adhered to, Mr. Rajiv said that some entrances and exits of CMS properties will be closed.
“What we will do is actually that we will control the entrance and exit points. We will set up check points where you wash your hands, where temperature checks are done and we will deploy more security personnel, to ensure that everybody is checked before entrance or exiting the building,” said Rajiv
In adherence to health ministry guidelines, Africa Tembelea understands that CMS will ensure that everybody wears a face mask and also observes social distancing while in any of the properties.
CMS MD Rajiv, however, said that this will be done in liaison with the tenants to the benefit of all.
“They can start supporting their families again, because they have been closed for the last four months and they have no other source of income, which is going to create a bigger threat to us and to the economy at large,” said Rajiv.
In Uganda’s capital Kampala, Arcades have been among the most affected by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disease which saw several businesses closed, events, and activities canceled or postponed.
Commenting on the rent arrears accrued during the lockdown, Rajiv Ruparelia said that: “We are one big family. A building is useless without tenants. However, tenants can’t operate without a building. So we are like a marriage and this marriage is very intimate.”
Unfortunately, he said that government has not given any waivers to the real estate industry.
“If you look at it, URA has only deferred their payments. They have not said that this year we are going to give special considerations where we are going to write off taxes for companies. If you look at NSSF, they have not given any conditions where companies can reduce the liabilities to pay NSSF,” he said.
“All they are saying is that if you’re not going to pay in February or March pay in August. But that is not solving a problem as an economy or for landlords. Now even the Central Bank has given some ease to the commercial banks and but does not tell the banks that we have given some special liquidity in order to be able to subsidize the interest that you will face because landlords cannot pay the banks. You see, when the tenant pays the landlord, the landlord takes the money and pays the bank,” he added.