By David Ssempijja
Persecuting foreign petty traders is an anti-development undertaking and puts the country’s international business relations at stake, enterprise development experts have warned.
Charles Ocici, the executive director Enterprise Uganda, said he was dismayed that some Ugandans had failed to realise the economic benefits derived from the presence of foreign traders, no matter the size of businesses they run.
“In most cases, where you find a business establishment of a foreign trader, big or small, you will also find Ugandans employed to serve different roles. This serves as a great contribution towards the fight to mitigate the country’s rising unemployment levels,” he said.
Ocici was last week discussing findings of the study conducted by the Federation of Uganda Employers (FUE) as the body sought avenues of helping businesses in the small and medium enterprises segment to benefit from the employment-related services FUE offers.
Kampala traders have always complained about foreigners, particularly Chinese and Asians, who come in the country purportedly to undertake large-scale investments, but end up in petty business.
The traders say the existence of these traders suffocates their retail businesses by exerting unfair competition on them.
Prof. Augustus Nuwagaba, a Makerere University don and an international development consultant, said Uganda should instead ensure that the foreign petty traders operate under the confines of the local traders laws rather than halting their operations.