The  Minister of Trade Industry and Cooperatives Hon. Amelia Kyambadde together with the Country Director Trademark East Africa  Ms. Ssali Damalie met with Executive directors and representatives of Trade facilitating institutions on the progress of the Uganda Trade Information Portal.The Trade portal enhances trade facilitation by documenting and disseminating information on trade and trade related measures.
It will be launched in october 2018 and can be accessed on ugandatrades.go.ug.

Read the ministers speech at the meeting:

 More than 100 IT companies are benefiting from a new project aimed at strengthening the competitiveness of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Uganda’s information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services (ITES) sectors. The Netherlands Trust Fund IV (NTF IV) project seeks to address wider challenges facing Uganda’s nascent tech industry, including scaling up its competitiveness.

 The NTF IV project was officially launched in Kampala by the Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC) Arancha González together with the Minister of Trade Amelia Kyambadde. The NTF IV programme is targeting Ugandan MSMEs active in Enterprise Software; Mobile Applications, and IT Enabled Services (ITES).

The project is a continuation of a long-running partnership between the Dutch Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI) and ITC. The project will run until June 2021 and will be working at different levels of engagement with more than 100 MSMEs in Uganda, of which more than half comprise start-up companies.

 Speaking at the launch of the project at the Africana Hotel in Kampala, Ms. Gonzalez said the project will strengthen the competiveness of Uganda’s technology sector in the domestic, regional and global market.

“Competitiveness is not an option. It is a necessity if countries are to seize the opportunities presented by trade and new technologies. With the NTF IV project we will open up a new chapter in ITC’s support to the development of exports of “Made in Uganda” IT and IT-enabled services”, explained Gonzalez.

She added that the project is designed to scale up companies, provide more end-to-end solutions, engage more start-ups, and ultimately be one of the key drivers of the development of Uganda’s IT sector.

Gonzalez noted the substantial unrealized potential for Ugandan tech companies to benefit from engagement in the domestic, regional and global saying lack of a local venture capital industry prevents young entrepreneurs and start-ups from accessing seed and growth funding. She added that even the established companies with an export track record are not able to scale up due to their limited size and resources. In response, ITC will actively be working to connect the participating companies with potential investors and partners abroad.

Minister Kyambadde said Uganda attained substantive milestones in NTF III regarding the development of the IT&IT Enabled Services Export Plan, 2015-2020, re-skilling IT firms and increasing industry representation of women in the IT sector.

 “The SME companies that participated in the NTF III and those that have expressed interest in Phase IV are highly commended. We also acknowledge the critical role of the Association bodies of ICTAU and ATIS in organizing your members to benefit from this programme”, said Kyambadde.

 Kyambadde added that her ministry in collaboration with other stakeholders including the Ministry of ICT, NITA-U, Uganda Export Promotion Board and others will ensure sustainability of the NTF IV beyond its closure. She reiterated government’s commitment to establish a robust dedicated regulatory and institutional mechanism for IT & ITES, increase internet connectivity, set up national and regional ICT hubs, supporting attachments of Ugandans to world class BPO firms, create meaningful platforms for the Private sector with buyers from key markets, Data protection, and regulating the pricing of telecommunication services.

The Minister urged all IT players to work in consortiums to achieve greater milestones in the business environment and the foreign markets.

The NTF IV National Project Coordinator Richard Okuti says implementation of the project started in November 2017 and so far 110 companies are benefiting, of which 48 are SMEs and 62 are start ups. He says they have supported these companies in capacity building especially business skills, development and execution of business plans, marketing, book keeping and other related training.

“We seek and link these companies to potential investors and buyers, and also link them to potential financial support in addition to facilitating their participation in exhibitions and other market platforms outside Uganda”, explained Okuti.

NTF IV project offers 18 of the supported IT and ITES exporters access to advanced advisory services and business-to-business (B2B) opportunities abroad.

 “Two IT companies traveled to Barcelona in February to find partners and clients at the Mobile World Congress 2018, for instance. Three others, led by representatives from the ICT Association of Uganda (ICTAU) and the Alliance for Trade in Information-Technology and Services (ATIS), will take part in Transform Africa in Kigali on 7 May”, said Okuti.

 All gold companies will receive training in May – applying CBI’s tested methodology – to create export marketing plans (EMPs) detailing their strategy to export to Europe or regionally.

 The project will also place a significant focus on gender and actively promote the participation of Ugandan women in tech – especially in leadership positions. During NTF IV pre-launch activities, women-led companies and start-ups have been trained on pitching to investors and two companies have been selected to take part in the She Trades Global event set for June in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

 END.

BRIEF ON CEMENT PRICES-10th April 2018

Introduction

Recently cement prices have been rising due to the scarcity of cement on the market

Old prices

Factory Price:  25,000 – 27,000

Wholesalers:   28,000 – 29,000

Retail Price:    30,000 - 31,000

Current Prices:

Factory price:   29,000 – 31,000

Wholesalers:     34,000 – 35,000

Retail price:      36,000 – 40,000

Meeting with cement manufacturers and wholesalers

On Tuesday 10th April 2018 I met the 3 cement manufacturers (Hima cement, Tororo cement & Kampala cement) and the wholesalers to establish the exact cause of the increased prices and to devise solutions.

Causes of increased prices raised by the Manufacturers

  • Continued power outages affecting Hima cement and Tororo cement causing a reduction in production. Hima has lost 10,000 MT since January 2018
  • Increased local demand of cement caused by the growth of the construction sector from 23% to 30% and the major construction projects like Karuma dam & Isimba dam and also some constructions in the oil and gas industry.
  • High demand of cement exports from neigbouring countries especially Rwanda and DRC
  • Delays in clearance of trucks of clinker at the border by URA
  • 10% import duty on clinker that increases the production costs
  • The annual closure of cement factories for routine maintenance
  • High fuel prices which have also affected transport and distribution 

Resolutions

  1. Government to immediately regulate the export of cement to address the scarcity until the market has stabilized. 
  2. Government to recommend a cap on wholesale and retail prices
  3. Fast track the clearance of clinker that belongs to Hima that is held at the border by URA.
  4. UMEME to sort out the problem of power outages that are affecting production at Hima cement and Tororo cement.
  5. MTIC to support the call for duty remission on clinker. MTIC to work with the Ministry of Finance to lift 10% of import duty on clinker.
  6. MTIC to work with Ministry of Energy to fast track securing a mining license for limestone for Hima cement
  7. New cement factory – Simba cement to open up in June 2018
  8. All manufacturers made a commitment which they are to put in writing to double their supply in the next 3 weeks to address the scarcity problem
  9. If by Mid May there is scarcity of cement, Government will be compelled to open up the market and allow in imported cement on special duty rate

 

 

On 9th April 2018,The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives of the Republic of Uganda and the Ministry of External Trade of the Democratic Republic of Congo desiring to promote trade between the two countries through improved trade facilitation, enhanced cross border investments and trade promotion sighned a Mémorandum of Understanding establishing a bilatéral Framework for enhancing cross border trade.

OBJECTIVES OF THE MOU

The parties shall develop the economic cooperation to contribute to;

  1. Creation of favourable conditions for sustainable development and diversification of trade in goods and services
  2. Promotion of cross border trade and investments
  3. Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers
  4. Cooperation on SME development
  5. Cooperation on standards development
  6. Cooperation on immigration issues
  7. Cooperation on customs issues.
  8. Cooperation on the implementation of the Great Lakes Trade Facilitation Project.

The Republic of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of  Congo (DRC) held a  bilateral meeting on the promotion of cross border trade  from 5-8 April 2018 at the level of technical experts.

The meeting followed a decision of the Ministers in charge of Trade for Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo held on the side-lines  of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) meeting in Kigali in March 2018 that the countries should hold a bilateral meeting in Uganda in April 2018.

The meeting was held under the auspices of the Great Lakes Trade Facilitation (GLTF) Project which the two countries are implementing with funds from the World Bank.

The meeting was convened to consider promotion of cross border trade, trade facilitation issues relating to customs, immigration, and elimination of Non-tariff barriers and implementation of Simplified Trade Regime (STR). The output of the meeting was to draw a framework for addressing challenges faced by cross border traders of the two sister countries.

 Uganda Export Promotion Board Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority Management Training and Advisory Centre Uganda National Bureau of Standards Uganda Industrial Research Institute