Several small businesses operating in the taxi park in Nyarugenge District are crying foul after the authorities closed down their stalls and confiscated their merchandise.
However, Charles Vuguziga, the Nyarugenge District executive secretary, said the 25 traders were working from verandahs, which is illegal according to trade laws.
The official said operating from verandahs and street vending obstructs authorised trade, promotes sale of substandard products besides affecting city hygiene. Vuguziga said the affected traders were given notice to vacate the area, but ignored it.
He added that only traders that agree to relocate to gazetted city markets will access their impounded products.
He also advised affected businesses to sort out any other issues with the park administration.
However, Deus Gahiga, the park’s business manager, said the affected businesses were advised to relocate earlier to a different area identified by the management, but refused.
“City rules do not allow street vending. So, we identified another area for them but they have been adamant to relocate,” he said. The affected businesses were operating stalls and booths on verandahs of buildings around the park, he added.
He noted that the city action seeks to create order and reduce congestion in the area.
Jean Damascene Ngendahimana, one of the affected vendors, claimed they had paid rent of up to six months for the stands, saying closing them down and seizing their items could sink them into debt and poverty.
“We call on the park administration and district authorities to give us more time before we can relocate.”