Non-essential businesses, transporters as well as farmers whose crops were ready for harvesting could be subjected to losses as the country in the two-two week lockdown.
The government imposed a second lockdown to avert a resurgent Covid-19 pandemic as cases continued to surge especially in Kigali, which led to a close of all non-essential businesses, although the disruptions have affected even those clustered in the essential category.
Niyomugabo Elias started harvesting his Chilli in December in Bugesera after a long gruelling and costly farming season, and had just got market when the country went into lockdown.
Although producers and exporters of horticulture products fall in the category of essential workers, transporting his chilli to buyers ran into problems.
The other option of transporting it using public means was also not possible since public transport was suspended along with any other trips upcountry, further frustrating his business.
“My chilli go into waste in the garden, after all the money I spent, the lockdown and the falling of prices conspired to frustrate my farming,” he said.
Traders dealing in general merchandise like clothing, scholastic materials, utensils and others are also reeling from the losses they are incurring after business came to a complete halt.
Many are incurring extra logistical costs since they can’t load or offload their cargo, while others are still faced with pre-existing costly logistical glitches, which spilled into 2021 from last year largely due to Covid-19 testing complications at the Dar es Salam port.
Joseph Mudenge, who imports footwear from China and some East African countries, says last year was a trade nightmare for his business due to the untold setbacks the Covid-19 disruptions dealt his business.
He said as business came to a standstill, expenditures of for instance storage facilities, rent for his outlets and parking for cargo have not been suspended.
“By September last year, I thought things were finally going to get better, but the nightmare continued into 2021, I already have outstanding debts to pay off from last year now business stops again, I understand it is for the general good, but many of our businesses will not survive this one” he said.
Downtown Kigali city looks like a ghost city, with all commercial buildings and shops closed.