Trade minister intervenes in Nakumatt, workers’ row

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Ameila Kyambadde, minister for Trade and Cooperatives has agreed to help former staff of Nakumatt supermarket to access records of their SACCO locked up by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) in one of the Nakumatt stores.

This follows a meeting convened by the Commissioner for Cooperatives Gordon Byakatonda over the weekend at the ministry headquarters involving the former Nakumatt staff and their SACCO leaders.

The former staff petitioned the Trade ministry last week seeking help in recovering their savings worth Shs 500 million that was deducted from their salaries. rn

They asked the ministry to summon the SACCO board and supervisory committee members to explain what happened to their savings.

The SACCO board is chaired by Vincent Kimuya, the Nakumatt Oasis Mall branch manager while the four member supervisory committee is chaired by Fred Muzungu, the procurement officer at Nakumatt Oasis Mall branch.

The petitioners claim that Nakumatt Uganda Limited registered a saving and credit society in 2009.

The company would deduct a certain amount from each of the employee’s salary every month for savings.

However, for the last three months, the employees haven't received any information regarding the status of their savings.

During the meeting, the supervisory committee chairman, Fred Muzungu, revealed that the SACCO files were locked up by URA in the supermarket store located in Kitetika, along Gayaza Road.

URA closed three Nakumatt stores after the troubled supermarket failed to clear tax arrears amounting to Shs 300 million.

The meeting resolved that the SACCO supervisory committee should write to URA through the Trade ministry seeking assistance to access the SACCO records so that they give former staff update on the status of their savings.

Fred Muzungu declined to comment on the matter when reached saying he was busy. Gordon Byakatonda, the commissioner for Cooperatives was also tight-lipped on the matter.

"We are handling the matter," he said

"I am not the ministry spokesperson. You know who to contact for more information.

Vincent Kimuya, the Nakumatt SACCO board chairman, had earlier said Nakumatt had met financial difficulties but the company owner has committed that he will not run away with anyone's money." rn

The ailing East Africa retail outlet is on the brink of collapse. Nakumatt is owned by the Kenyan Atul Shah family. rn

It has so far closed five branches in Uganda including; Acacia Mall in Kololo, Village Mall in Bugolobi, Victoria Mall in Entebbe, Katwe branch and Mbarara branch while the remaining branches have been closed by URA over tax arrears.

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