By E. Murina and S. Sanya
Importers are calling on the Government to improve the business environment. They pointed out that high taxes, poor storage facilities and a poor transport network are the biggest obstacles to their business.
They are calling for major structural reforms to address the challenges hindering trade and investments.
Hajji Kawooya, a spare parts importer in Katwe in Kampala said the high taxes imposed are almost forcing importers out of business. “Transportation of goods from Mombasa to Kampala is another mountain to climb. The inconveniencies encountered at weigh bridges where offi cials ask for money even if the container meets the required specifi cations
is a burden,” he said.
“Some clearing agents are not honest and expect a lot of money from importers. There are some importers who fail to declare all their goods in order to be charged less.”
Importers this reporter spoke to said storage charges are expensive in case the container delays at Mombasa. Sometimes goods are damaged before reaching the importer.
Another importer says the network systems to clear goods in Mombasa are always down, forcing importers to incur other
unexpected costs in accommodation and food. “There is no security for our goods at Mombasa port. Usually goods are damaged and sometimes wrong deliveries made to importers,” he said.
“ We want the Government to address these problems because importers are making losses day and night,” said Peter Kimbugwe, the chairman Uganda Importers and Network Association.
Nsubuga Rogers, a second hand machine importer, said there are many types of machinery are duplicated and sold
cheaply. This costs the importers of genuine machines customers and income.
Importation costs are likely to drop as the East African Customs Union is implemented. A third of the national budget
is dedicated to improving the road network to lower the cost of doing business.