BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE/ PATRICIA SIBANDA
BULAWAYO liquor traders have appealed to the government to write off their rental debts for the seven months they were under national COVID-19 lockdown.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently allowed bottlestores to resume operations, but bars and nightclubs remain closed.
According to the Liquor Traders Association, Bulawayo has 1 015 outlets registered with the Liquor Licensing Board.
“These outlets employ on average 15 225 individuals who are facing an uncertain future,” Liquor Traders Association vice-chairperson Mbuso Siso said.
“We want to appeal to the government that they must write off rental arrears for the past seven months because we were closed down.
“They must be scrapped off since government is not able to give us any rescue packages for all businesses that were completely shut down for seven months with no revenue collection by those businesses.
“After the seven months, we were then allowed to operate on condition that we all closed at 4:30pm which has been difficult for us to raise rent for the seven months,” he said.
“Bars operated in the afternoon at the time, and we were being required to close at 4:30pm which made it difficult to make money,” Siso said.
“We are being harassed by landlords and they have threatened to kick us out. Some are using the law to evict us. COVID-19 was not a creation of bars, but it is a world pandemic and every country in this world is facing it.”
Siso appealed to the authorities to allow bars to operate, adding that government had no capacity to rescue businesses that were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“How does the government help us or rescue us from this problem that we are facing?
- Follow us on Twitter @NewsDayZimbabwe