By Joe Nam
Uganda’s access to the $4m (about sh10b) aid to trade hangs in the balance, after the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) Programme officials said the trade ministry is submitting conflicting project proposals.
The Geneva-based EIF officials said Uganda seems undecided on whether to claim the money or not, although it is entitled to it.
The fund is part of the Aid for Trade, an arrangement in which wealthier nations agreed to fund poor ones to fully participate in international trade. One trade related project would be funded per recipient country
According to the EIF Secretariat in Geneva, Uganda has sent a number of conflicting project proposals. They include proposals for silk production, aloe vera, gum Arabica, honey and tourism and hospitality training.
“We are confused as to what Uganda wants. We want the Government to agree on one project proposal in which the country has a clear competitive advantage and inform us accordingly,” said the EIF Executive director Dr. Ratnakar Adhikari in a recent visit to Uganda.
However, Henry Nyakoojo, the Technical Advisor for EIF in the trade ministry says Uganda has the option of sending a number of proposals from which the EIF can choose what to fund.
“I have heard this talk of competitive advantage and priorities before,” said Nyakoojo. “I think we are able to determine what our priorities are as a country.”
Dr. Adhikari, however, commended Uganda for good implementation of previous EIF projects. He cited the training of District Commercial Officers to effectively facilitate trade at district and village level.
The EIF project contributed to the formulation of trade related legislations and policies in the country, including the Consumer Protection Bill, Anti Counterfeit Bill, Trade Licensing Amendment Bill, Regulation for Hire Purchase Act and Competition Policy.