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.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives is hereby informing the General Public that Government has not taken any decision to declare any Savings and

Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOs) illegal or dysfunctional, as reported in the New Vision issue of Tuesday, April 3, 2018.Currently, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development are implementing the Project for Financial Inclusion in Rural Areas (PROFIRA). Through the project, the two

Ministries are conducting a verifi cation exercise on the functionality of all SACCOs in the country.Through PROFIRA, a SACCO census has been conducted and a reliable database

for SACCOs is being developed. Under the same program, Government has built the capacity of a number of SACCOs through fi nancial literacy and credit and default

management trainings.Government has also organized regional and district SACCO fora through which SACCOs are given a platform to share their experiences and challenges in order

to benefi t from Government support. The District Commercial Offi cers (DCOs) also conduct sensitization of cooperative societies on formation and management of

cooperatives.Based on the above, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives disowns the list of SACCOs published by New Vision with claims that they are operating illegally,

Download: Disclaimer on SACCO Report

On 18th January 2018,the ministry held a breakfast meeting with the Indian business Community

This forum is an initiative of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives whose main aim is to provide an opportunity for the Government MDAs and the Indian business community in Uganda to interface so as to enhance trade and Investment and further strengthen the cordial relationship between the two countries.

The meeting was to enable us come together with the purpose of achieving in particular the following:

  1. Inform the Indian business community about measures being undertaken by Government to improve the doing business environment in the country;
  2. Provide an opportunity for the Indian business community to raise issues and challenges faced in doing business in Uganda.
  3. Respond to the challenges and concerns of the Indian business community in Uganda
  4. Explore concrete ways on how to create harmonious business environment for both local and foreign investors in the country

Your Excellency, Mr. Zheng Zhu Qiang, the Chinese ambassador,Government officials, The Business Community of China and Uganda, Members of the Media Fraternity, Ladies and Gentlemen

I take this opportunity to welcome you to the second breakfast meeting with the Chinese business community in Uganda. The First one was held sometime back in 2015.

This forum is an initiative of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives whose main aim is to provide an opportunity for the Government MDAs and the Chinese Business Community in Uganda to interface so as to enhance trade and Investment and further strengthen the cordial relationship between the two countries.

Your Excellency the Ambassador, and all invited Guests, the this meeting is to enable us come together with a share purpose of achieving in particular the following:

  1. Inform the Chinese business community about measures being undertaken by Government to improve the doing business environment in the country;
  2. Provide an opportunity for the Chinese business community to raise issues and challenges faced in doing business in Uganda.
  3. Respond to the challenges and concerns of the Chinese business community in Uganda
  4. Explore concrete ways on how to create harmonious business environment for both local and foreign investors in the country

Bilateral Relations between Uganda and China

Uganda cherishes the cordial relationship with China and applauds the Chinese Government for its contribution to the social economic transformation of Uganda in the areas of infrastructure development especially road construction, hospitals, power generation and communication development. We also appreciate the technical assistance cooperation especially through education of Ugandans in China.

Government also recognizes the role of the Chinese Private investments in our effort to industrialize the country and attain a middle income status by 2020.

Trade between Uganda and China

China has been our major trading partner and ranks second in the sourcing of imports for Uganda.

Imports from China have been on the increase; imports values increased from USD 622m recorded in 2013 to USD 740m for 2014 to USD 875m for 2015 to USD 886m in 2016.

On the other hand, exports to China have been lower and slower in growth. Uganda’s exports to China for 2013 were USD 38m, 2014 amounted to USD 66m, 2015 were USD 57.7m while for 2016 were USD 27m translating into the high trade deficit.

Major commodities imported from China are: reception apparatus, vehicles, telecommunication equipment, worn clothing, iron and steel products and beverages, spirits and vinegar

Uganda’s main exports to China include sesame, coffee, raw hides and skins, fish and crustaceans, cereals, cocoa cotton, oil seeds, fruits and vegetables and in minimal volumes – less than USD 70m as compared to imports of over USD 600m.

The major reason for the huge trade disparity is on account of Uganda exporting are mostly bulky, low value raw materials with minimum value addition, while we import high value products from China.

How can this forum help us to address the trade imbalance with China?

The surest response to this question would be enhancing export of value added product, and well as exploring opportunities for increasing export of services.

We also expect that the Chinese Business communities here should not only engage in importation, but also explore how to add value of the many local resources and export to China.  Be our ambassadors in China, and bring more investors, I mean real investors to engage in export oriented investment. 

 the Government of Uganda and the Ugandan Business community seeks strategic partnerships with the Chinese Government and Chinese business people.

Despite the current trade deficit experienced by Uganda, I am optimistic that this Forum and other initiatives will promote trade and investment between the two Countries.

Investment opportunities

Uganda has enormous opportunities in commercial agriculture and agro-processing, an area in which it has comparative advantage in the region. The other areas include tourism, oil and gas, mineral extraction, infrastructure development especially roads, energy and ICT, construction and operation of warehouses and silos, and packaging subsector.

Business environment

The Government of Uganda is committed to improving the business environment by, among others:

  • Putting in place enabling policies and laws;
  • Development of socio-economic infrastructure e.g. roads, energy and ICT;
  • Developing the standards and quality infrastructure, including harmonization of regional standards;
  • Elimination of NTBs;
  • Enhancing access to regional markets;
  • Reducing bureaucratic red tape for investors;
  • Strengthening the capacity of District Commercial Offices to provide trade and investment information and outreach services in their respective Districts;
  • Simplification of the Rules of Origin;
  • Promotion of public-private partnership; and
  • The fight against corruption.

Your Excellency, we have invited all the key Government MDAs, including MoFPED, MoFA, MAAIF, MOJCA, MEMD, MoWT, Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities,   Directorate of Immigration, UIA, URA, URSB, UNBS, UIRI, UEPB, UDC, UTB, UFZA, UWRSA, KACITA and  TEXDA. The apex bodies of the Uganda Private Sector are represented, e.g. PSFU and UMA. They will respond to any questions and concerns you may wish to raise.

Your Excellency, the Uganda Government and Ugandan business people wish to draw the attention of your Government and business people to the following concerns:

  1. Involvement of Chinese business people in retail/wholesale trade.

Our take is that Chinese business people concentrate on setting up manufacturing plants while retail/wholesale trade is left to the Ugandan business people.This will help stimulate production, create employment and wealth our population hence improving on the standard of living of our people. Government pledges its commitment in providing the necessary regulatory framework to protect Chinese manufacturers from any unfair competition that may threaten the survival/existence of their establishments.

  1. Dollarization of rent payment.

There is a serious outcry from the Ugandan business people, especially in Kampala city, regarding payment of rent in dollars. This has repulsed most local business people from accessing rentable premises in the city and other major towns. It is claimed that Chinese business people are the ones instigating landlords and this is likely to create misunderstanding between the business people of the two sister countries.

  1. Contract farming

Government of Uganda wishes to encourage  contract farming between Chinese companies and Ugandan farmers involved in the production of agricultural products such as; sesame, cotton, sunflower and soybean so as to boost quality and quantity of such products.

I am optimistic that through our discussions and networking, we will make resolutions whose implementation will help us create a conducive trade and investment environment and promote mutually beneficial relations between Uganda and China.

The Government is fully committed to ensuring the implementation of this forum’s resolutions and recommendations.

Your Excellency the Ambassador,

Uganda looks forward to attracting more Chinese investors into the country to enhance production and value addition targeted at boosting export capacity in the various sectors. We need to work together to promote our bilateral economic relations. I pledge my Ministry’s commitment to further improving the business environment and enhancing our trade relations with China.

Finally, I thank the Chinese Business Association in Uganda for sponsoring this important breakfast meeting.

I thank you for listening to me.

For God and my Country

 

Uganda is one of the 51 countries set to benefit from UGX 76.68 billion (USD$21.3 million) grant that the United Kingdom has pledged towards the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), an innovative global trade programme that brings together partners and resources to support Lest Developed Countries in using trade for poverty reduction, inclusive growth and sustainable development.

UK made the announcement during a meeting for the Enhanced Integrated Framework on the sidelines of the ongoing 11th WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Announcing the commitment on 12th December 2017 in Buenos Aires, the Minister of State for Trade Policy, Department for International Trade, UK Greg Hands said trade and economic development is clearly the most effective way for countries to create investment and jobs.

"I’m delighted that the UK’s generous support to the Enhanced Integrated Framework will help the world’s poorest countries trade out of poverty,” said Greg Hands.

The funds from UK will help the least developed countries (LDCs) like Uganda to develop the tools, skills and economic capacity they need to become competitive in targeting new markets for their goods and services. Least Developed Countries account for 13 percent of the world’s population, but engage in less than one percent of global trade.

Speaking during the meeting, the WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo cited EIF’s progress with helping LDCs improve production and create jobs by producing spices, mangoes, honey, textiles and other products.

“The EIF does vital work and has made a real impact on the ground,” the WTO Director General said. “But we are starting from a low base here. There is still a huge amount to be done. We are particularly grateful for the UK's commitment at this time. We see it as recognition that EIF and the countries it partners with are indeed on the right path."

EIF Executive Director Ratnakar Adhikari said the funding commitments and pledges made at the Ministerial Conference and in the coming year will help LDCs ready themselves for paradigm shifts in the global economic system, including the growing trend in E-Commerce. EIF’s work so far has provided the world with success stories, Adhikari added, “But this does not mean that the work is done. Rather, it is a reminder of how important this work is—and how much more focus it deserves.”

Trade Minister and leader of Uganda´s delegation in the WTO MC11 in Argentina Amelia Kyambadde says the grant will help Uganda to further mainstream trade, address the supply side challenges and build the capacity to gain entry into the global trading system.

The EIF has been funding Uganda since 2008 with most of the funds injected in the mainstreaming trade at the grassroots through the District Commercial Services Project that was implemented by the Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives (MTIC) since 2012. The project sought to arm District Commercial Officers (DCOs) with skills and tools to promote and grow businesses at the grass root.

“DICOSS focused on trade, tourism, industry and cooperatives sectors and the ability of both the GOU and the Local Governments to deliver these services at the grassroots level with DICOSS as the focal individuals to drive this agenda” explained Kyambadde.

DICOSS has built the capacity of DCOs from 25 districts through redefining their functions, equipping them, building skills in them; and facilitating and improving their links with the Ministry, other government agencies and lower local governments, and the public.

“Because of the success of the DICOSS Project, Government has rolled out the Conditional Grant to all Local Governments to promote commercial services at the grassroots”, explained Kyambadde.

This Financial year 2017/2018, the EIF has extended a grant of USD 300,000 (Shs.1.1billion) to implement phase 2 of the Trade Capacity Enhancement Project (TRACE) in the Ministry of Trade.

 

END.

 

 

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