By Taddeo Bwambale
Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has today kicked off prosecution of more than 1,000 traders for defaulting on trading license.
"We have been issuing notices to defaulters reminding them to pay license fees, but many have not complied. Starting Thursday (today) this week, our Court will prosecute all defaulters," Jennifer Musisi the city executive director said.
According to Musisi, the affected traders face the risk of losing their businesses and jail term for failing to pay trade licenses.
Under the Trade Licensing Act, those who default on payment of trade licenses face a possible a fine of up to sh20m, Musisi explained.
The law requires proprietors of businesses to pay license fees at the beginning of every year, but thousands of traders are yet to pay, Musisi said.
Among businesses that have defaulted are private institutions, recreational centres restaurants and shopping centres.
Musisi decried the rate of non-compliance by traders, saying it was hurting KCCA's revenue collection to facilitate service delivery in the city.
KCCA targets to generate at least sh14b from trade licenses alone by the end of the financial year 2012/2013.
Effective January 2012, the Government reduced license fees by 25%, in which wholesalers were charged sh498,000, down from sh665,000, while licenses for pharmacies reduced from sh800,000 to sh600,000.
Musisi also warned of tougher action against those who fail to pay the license fees, including revoking their licenses.
Several traders at Centenary Park in the city centre are among those affected by the new measures, after KCCA refused to renew their licenses.
KCCA's deputy director for legal affairs, Charles Ouma defended the move, saying many of them were operating there illegally.
"The law does not recognize people who operate in places gazetted as open public spaces, the same way we do not license bars that operate in residential areas," he said. Last year, KCCA removed a rail fence along the Centenary Park gardens and plans to restore the public park.