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Museveni to discuss taxes, teachers issues with Xi

By Vision Reporter

Added 5th September 2018 09:39 PM

The Ugandan President will present grievances of Ugandans in China when the two leaders meet on Thursday

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President Yoweri Museveni meets the Ugandan community in China. PPU Photo

The Ugandan President will present grievances of Ugandans in China when the two leaders meet on Thursday

President Yoweri Museveni has met a cross-section of Ugandans living in China, promising to attend to three key issues they raised for his attention.

The Wednesday meeting, attended by about 100 Ugandans, was held at the Uganda embassy's gardens in Beijing.

Museveni said he would at a planned meeting on Thursday with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, raise the issue of high taxes imposed on processed Ugandan products to China and licensing of Ugandan teachers of the English language.

This followed submissions by six Ugandan representatives who asked the President to raise some of the issues with his Chinese counterpart.

Ntumwa Birimumaso, the proprietor of Ubuntu Cafe, a company that exports Ugandan coffee to China, told Museveni about the high taxes placed on roasted coffee beans yet they would fetch more money than green beans.

"I began my company in 2016 and we process coffee into powder which we sell to Chinese shops. Currently we sell about four tonnes monthly. However the high taxes both in Uganda and China are limiting our growth. We also need capital to expand," he said.

 

Birimumaso, a graduate of petroleum engineering from the Petroleum University of China, said he was an engaging partner and in October, he would export 20 tonnes of coffee.

He added that China presented a lot of opportunities for agro-business and urged the government to support potential investors in that area.

Ivan Kagimu, the proprietor of the New Vision Education Training School, which has nine branches in Shanghai city, asked the President to make a case for qualified teachers of the English language to be certified by the Chinese government.

He said currently, Ugandans are not treated as indigenous English language speakers, which hampers them when it comes to teaching opportunities in China.

Kagimu also requested the government to support an initiative by Chinese investors who are willing to set up vocational training schools in Uganda with a bias towards industrial training.

In his remarks, Museveni promised to raise the two issues (taxation and teachers certification) with his host, President Xi, at a meeting scheduled for Thursday.

"President Jinping actually touched on the issue of taxing value-added products when he spoke to us at the just-concluded Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). I will raise it with him," said Museveni.

"I also agree that our Bazukulu speak very good English. I will speak to President Xi on how they can be recognised and allowed to teach here," he added.

Museveni who has been part of African leaders attending FOCAC, also commended Maria Nakaweesi, a Ugandan running a freight and logistics company in Guangzhou city.

 

He promised to help her set up a warehouse in Kampala to facilitate trade especially for Ugandan exports to China after she complained of high storage charges.

Museveni also directed the government to help Wilson Ssonko's shea butter enterprise, where he supplies the product to China.

He said it should begin with a scientific study of the medicinal and other values of the product, get a patent and regularise its export.

On the request of the leader of Ugandan students in China, Timothy Mukisa, the President offered the association $20,000 to cover their activities for one year.

Museveni also directed the Ambassador, Dr Crispus Kiyonga, to strengthen the trade research desk at the embassy, after the chairman of the Uganda-China Forum, Benedict Kanjako, asked for a desk to help study the business opportunities in China.

The meeting was also attended by the First Lady and Minister for Education, Janet Museveni, foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa, Attorney General William Byaruhanga, works minister Monica Azuba and finance minister Matia Kasaija.

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