Traders in Nyarugenge District are crying foul over a recent policy by the district to ban display of merchandise on shop verandas.
The ban was announced two weeks ago during a meeting between Nyarugenge District officials and over 200 traders.
The district authorities said the measure aimed at ensuring orderly business environment to deter cases of insecurity and poor hygiene. The move was supported by the Police and local leaders.
However, traders in the two mostly-affected business centres, Nyamirambo and ‘Quartier Commercial’, say the policy is hurting their sales.
Albert Musonera, a footwear seller in Nyamirambo, said his sales have dropped since the ban was announced.
“I used to sell about 20 pairs of shoes daily, but now I can’t even get 10 buyers,” Musonera added.
He noted that customers are always attracted to shops by the merchandise that is displayed on the shop verandas.
Janvier Hakizimana, a clothes’ dealer ‘Cartier Commerciale’, says the ban was ill-informed.
“We need to display our merchandise so that clients know what we are selling,” he said.
He argued that “the more wares you expose, the more the sales”.
“So, the ban will greatly affect our businesses. We appeal to the authorities to reconsider the decision,” Hakizimana said.
Authorities speak out
According to Vedaste Nsabimana, the Nyarugenge vice-mayor for finance and economic development, the district’s decision to outlaw display of trading wares on shop verandas seeks to ensure security and hygiene.
“The ban is not targeting tax defaulters as many traders are claiming, but we want business owners to maintain hygiene and good working environment,” Nsabimana explained.
“The previous arrangement exposed even traders to various problems, including compromising security and hygiene in the city.” He argued that it is not only in Nyarugenge District, where authorities promote orderly business environments, but also in other areas. He added that, overall, displaying goods on verandas has negative effects on development, generally.