Eve Mbasabye

Eve Mbasabye

Kampala Landlords Demand For Tax Waivers, Tax Holiday

The Managing Director of Crane Management Services, the leading real estate company and landlord in Kampala, Rajiv Ruparelia, has reechoed the most pressing need of his colleagues the landlords by demanding tax waivers from government and tax holidays from Uganda Revenue Authority as the country emerges to stand on its feet from the guillotines of COVID-19 pandemic.

Rajiv while speaking at a press conference to announce key Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) Crane Management Services has put in place at all its properties to avert the spread of the coronavirus asked special considerations were government can write off taxes for companies most hit by COVID-19 including landlords.

“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. But unfortunately, the government has not given any waivers to this industry,” Rajiv noted with dismay.

“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.”

COVID-19: Speke Resort Munyonyo, Other Five Star Hotels To Quarantine Repatriated Ugandans

Speke Group of Hotels' establishments Speke Apartments (80 rooms), Speke Resort Munyonyo (150 rooms) and Kabila Country Resort (80 rooms) all in Kampala, lead a pack of 14 high-end private hotels that will be used by the government as quarantine centres for repatriated Ugandans.

Other such hotels include Protea Hotel (100 rooms), Lake Victoria Hotel (100 rooms), Mowicribs Apartment (30 rooms), Imperial Botanical (80 rooms) and St. Stevens Suites (18 rooms) while Hilton Garden Inn (80 rooms), Mackinnon Suites (120 rooms), Ssanga Courts (60 rooms), Golden Tullip Hotel (60 rooms), Apartments Hotel (20 rooms) and Eureka Place Ntinda (60 rooms) are in Kampala.

Government has however revealed that the cost for quarantining in these private hotels will be met by the returnees.

Government has also provided three public facilities – Mulago Paramedical in Kampala (140 rooms), Fisheries Institute in Entebbe (50 rooms) and Lands and Survey in Entebbe (60 rooms) – for those who cannot afford private hotels. The cost of these three public facilities will be met by the government. Call Dr Richard on +256772563113 for reservation.  

Following cabinet recent approval to allow Ugandans who are stranded abroad due to the closure of Entebbe Airport and of the borders following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic to start returning home in a safe and orderly manner, the ministry of health released a list of hotels DESIGNATED as QUARANTINE CENTRES.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said through working with the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) developed standard procedures that will guide in arranging for the return of Ugandans stranded abroad.

  1. A citizen of Uganda or a legal resident intending to travel back to Uganda under the arrangement of returning stranded nationals (returnee) must register with the nearest Embassy /High Commission of Uganda, hereinafter referred to as the responsible Embassy/High Commission and provide the following information; 

a.) Ugandan Passport number, National ID or Residence/Work permit;

b.) Circumstances under which they got stranded abroad;

c.) Contact information of the next of kin in Uganda i.e. Telephone Number & LC 1 location;

d.) Evidence of hospitalization for those who are returning from medical treatment abroad. 

  1. The returnee must sign and deposit at the responsible Embassy/High Commission an undertaking to undergo a PCR test for COVID-19 done at his/her current area of residence and again on arrival in Uganda. A copy of the undertaking can be got from the responsible Embassy/High Commission; 
  1. The returnee should indicate to the responsible Embassy/High Commission their choice of quarantine facility in Uganda. The available choices include both public centres and private hotels. A list of the approved quarantine centres (public and private) is herewith attached. NB: Clients going to hotels are strongly advised to make reservations prior to traveling. Hotel check-in will only be permitted after making payments. 
  1. The returnee will sign and deposit with the responsible Embassy/High Commission, a commitment to undergo a minimum of 14 days quarantine in the facility which they will have chosen from the list providedand to fully comply with the National Guidelines for Quarantine in the Context of COVID-19 that are issued by the Ministry of Health of Uganda; 
  1. The returnees who opt to be quarantined in a private hotel will meet the cost of their own quarantine. 
  1. The returnees will be responsible for making their own reservations with the airlines. The Embassy may only assist with overall coordination of the exercise and will from time to time provide the necessary guidance on this matter. 
  1. The returnee will be required to present to the airline, proof of a negative PCR test result for COVID-19 as part of the requirements for confirmation of their flight booking. The test must have been taken at least 10 days prior to the date of the planned flight to Uganda. The PCR test for COVID-19 must have been done by a health facility that is accredited by the host Governments. 
  1. While in transit, the returnee will be required to adhere to the host country Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for safe travel and the SOPs provided by the airline while on the plane. This may include wearing of a face mask and sanitizing as may be required. 
  1. Every individual traveler is advised to carry a spare mask(s) in case they need to replace the original one that they have. Used masks will only be disposed in a facility provided for that purpose; 
  1. The returnee will pay for the entire cost of their own travel up to arrival at a designated point of entry into Ugandai.e. Entebbe airport or a designated border point of entry; 
  1. On arrival in Uganda, the returnee will observe the social distancing standards established by the Government of Uganda at the airport or border point of entry and will comply fully with all port of entry safety requirements; 
  1. No relatives or friends will be allowed to meet or pick a returnee from the airport on arrival in Uganda. 
  1. The returnee will deposit their passport with the Immigration officers on arrival in Uganda. The passport will only be given back to the returnee after the end of the mandatory quarantine period& upon presentation to the immigration office of a certificate of release from quarantine issued by the Ministry of Health. The said certificate must additionally indicate a negative test result. 
  1. The Ministry of Health may continue to follow up on the health of the returnee after she/he has been released from quarantine. 
  1. Additional procedures to those listed above may be issued by Government of Uganda from time to time.

 

 

Speke Resort Munyonyo Hosts Cavendish University Scientific Graduation

As the World grapples with the unexpected COVID19 crisis, leaving many vulnerable to the insurmountable threat posed by the Coronavirus, Cavendish University Uganda staying true to its Student Centric values and in the interest of promoting Public Health, on Thursday celebrated the class of 2020 with a Scientific and Virtual Graduation Ceremony at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

A total of 809 students graduated and were awarded diplomas and degrees at the University’s 9th Graduation ceremony which was graced by the Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga and former Tanzania’s President Benjamin Mkapa, the University’s current Chancellor.

Because of the health guidelines provided by the government, public gatherings are prohibited but many are adopted what President Yoweri Museveni described as ‘scientific’ gathering – of fewer people and observing social distancing.

Speke Resort Munyonyo recently readjusted its conference facilities to meet the social distancing requirement in order to allow meetings such as Cavendish University graduation to take place. The ceremony was the first-ever virtual and ‘Scientific’ graduation ceremony in East Africa.

Graduands who managed to make it to Speke Resort Munyonyo maintained social distance from each other while others followed the proceeding on internet video conferencing platforms.  “This is virtual graduation, you stay home, connect to ZOOM, and when you hear and see your name being read. You have graduated,” the University told graduating students.

Hotels Start Opening For Business As Uganda Rises From COVID-19 Lockdown

The hotel industry in Uganda and the larger tourism sector have been hit hard by the COVID19 pandemic and have courageously embraced the two months-long lockdown.

With all means of transport grounded, borders closed and Entebbe Airport closed, President Yoweri Museveni on the advice of ministry of health closed many businesses including hotels as a measure to curb coronavirus.

As the country rises from the ruins of the pandemic, many hotels are opening up for business. This week, Speke Group of Hotels, a chain of hotels owned by Ruparelia Group, announced that they are ready to open up some of their hotels.

Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia, the chairman of Ruparelia Group, said they have taken measures to ensure the safety of both guests and staff. As a requirement, hotels need to observe SOPs and guidelines as provided by government. 

Some of the hotels and restaurants owned by Speke Group of Hotels that are now open and ready to serve their guests include Kabira country club, Speke Apartments Wampewo Avenue, Bukoto Heights, Boulevard Apartments, Speke Apartments Kitante and Speke Resort Munyonyo.

Dr. Ruparelia said Speke Hotel, Forrest Cottages and Dolphin Suites Bugolobi, the other establishments owned by Speke Group will also open soon.

The Ruparelia Group runs some of Uganda’s largest and finest hotels and resorts serving both the luxury and budget market.

The Group offers the ultimate in luxury accommodation, leisure facilities and the finest conference and business meeting venues in Uganda, along with related businesses including a rafting company and a radio station that has for years rocked the airwaves in Uganda.

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