Eve Mbasabye

Eve Mbasabye

Speke Resort Munyonyo Hosts Cavendish University Scientific Graduation

As the World grapples with the unexpected COVID19 crisis, leaving many vulnerable to the insurmountable threat posed by the Coronavirus, Cavendish University Uganda staying true to its Student Centric values and in the interest of promoting Public Health, on Thursday celebrated the class of 2020 with a Scientific and Virtual Graduation Ceremony at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

A total of 809 students graduated and were awarded diplomas and degrees at the University’s 9th Graduation ceremony which was graced by the Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga and former Tanzania’s President Benjamin Mkapa, the University’s current Chancellor.

Because of the health guidelines provided by the government, public gatherings are prohibited but many are adopted what President Yoweri Museveni described as ‘scientific’ gathering – of fewer people and observing social distancing.

Speke Resort Munyonyo recently readjusted its conference facilities to meet the social distancing requirement in order to allow meetings such as Cavendish University graduation to take place. The ceremony was the first-ever virtual and ‘Scientific’ graduation ceremony in East Africa.

Graduands who managed to make it to Speke Resort Munyonyo maintained social distance from each other while others followed the proceeding on internet video conferencing platforms.  “This is virtual graduation, you stay home, connect to ZOOM, and when you hear and see your name being read. You have graduated,” the University told graduating students.

Hotels Start Opening For Business As Uganda Rises From COVID-19 Lockdown

The hotel industry in Uganda and the larger tourism sector have been hit hard by the COVID19 pandemic and have courageously embraced the two months-long lockdown.

With all means of transport grounded, borders closed and Entebbe Airport closed, President Yoweri Museveni on the advice of ministry of health closed many businesses including hotels as a measure to curb coronavirus.

As the country rises from the ruins of the pandemic, many hotels are opening up for business. This week, Speke Group of Hotels, a chain of hotels owned by Ruparelia Group, announced that they are ready to open up some of their hotels.

Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia, the chairman of Ruparelia Group, said they have taken measures to ensure the safety of both guests and staff. As a requirement, hotels need to observe SOPs and guidelines as provided by government. 

Some of the hotels and restaurants owned by Speke Group of Hotels that are now open and ready to serve their guests include Kabira country club, Speke Apartments Wampewo Avenue, Bukoto Heights, Boulevard Apartments, Speke Apartments Kitante and Speke Resort Munyonyo.

Dr. Ruparelia said Speke Hotel, Forrest Cottages and Dolphin Suites Bugolobi, the other establishments owned by Speke Group will also open soon.

The Ruparelia Group runs some of Uganda’s largest and finest hotels and resorts serving both the luxury and budget market.

The Group offers the ultimate in luxury accommodation, leisure facilities and the finest conference and business meeting venues in Uganda, along with related businesses including a rafting company and a radio station that has for years rocked the airwaves in Uganda.

Insurers Goldstar, Prudential Team Up To Offer COVID19 Insurance

Goldstar Insurance and Prudential Uganda have teamed up to offer a new insurance cover to offer life insurance cover to Goldstar’s Workman’s Compensation and Group Personal Accident Policyholders.

The new insurance product called COVID19 Group Life Extension Insurance Cover covers groups of individuals of companies and organizations against devastating COViD19 pandemic. It is underwritten by Prudential.

In the new partnership, Prudential shall offer cover against Natural Death to all Goldstar Workman’s Compensation and Group Personal Accident Policyholders against death due to natural causes.

Goldstar Insurance said this cover is an extension of your existing Workman’s Compensation & Group Personal Accident policy with Goldstar to bridge the gap left out by this class of insurance.

“The death benefit enshrined under the traditional workers' compensation and group personal accident is only payable if death is due to accidental causes and does not include death due to natural causes including Covid19,”

“Because of the above shortcoming, Goldstar Insurance has partnered with Prudential Life to offer cover against natural death to all Goldstar and GPA Policy Holders and death due to Covod19 is hereby covered,” Goldstar has said.

According to Wikipedia, the COVID-19 pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, is an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‑CoV‑2). The outbreak was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January, and a pandemic on 11 March.

As of 24 May 2020, more than 5.35 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in more than 188 countries and territories, resulting in more than 343,000 deaths. More than 2.14 million people have recovered from the virus.

 

COVID19 To Increase Cost Of Managing Properties – Rajiv Ruparelia

Real estate developers and property managers will have to spend money on new costs that have arisen during the coronavirus (COVID19) global pandemic, Rajiv Ruparelia, the managing director of Ruparelia Group Saturday said during a webinar organized by India Business Forum.

Rajiv, who under Ruparelia Group, manages the country’s leading property management firm Crane Management Services and property developers Meera Investments, said the pandemic has created new costs that building owners must now incur.

“The cost of operating these properties is going up. We now have to make buildings safe and with proper hygiene. You have to provide sanitizers and a temperature gun at every entrance. You have to employ people to oversee these procedures. These are all costs,” Rajiv said.

Rajiv, discussing the topic Survival of Business (real estate) Post Covid-19, noted that the real estate market is going to shrink. We are going to lose tenants, he said, adding that many industries will not survive the pandemic or might delay coming back to normal.

He advises that property developers and managers need to talk to their tenants in an attempt to have a solution especially when arrears are involved. Ruparelia Group has waived penalties on late payment of rent and has deferred arrears to three months and six months for big tenants like those occupying warehouses.

He requested that government waives property tax and ground rent in order to incentivize real estate investment.

Tashin Morjaria, the executive director of Orient Bank Uganda revealed that while the real estate market for residential houses is still stable, that of commercial buildings has received a bashing due to the effects of the pandemic.

Going forward, Morjaria suggested that companies need to put in place a contingency plan that addresses pandemics. We should re-strategize how we do business, he said.

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