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Trade barriers undermine rise in East Africa’s prosperity

By John Odyek

Added 23rd August 2019 09:52 AM

Ambassador Katureebe Tayebwa Consul - General of Uganda in Mombasa said more commitment was required from all stakeholders’ especially political leaders and state bureaucrats to remove barriers to trade.

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Kyambadde (Third from left) together with Tayebwa (Third from Right) during the third Trade and Business Facilitation Symposium 2019 at Mombasa.

Ambassador Katureebe Tayebwa Consul - General of Uganda in Mombasa said more commitment was required from all stakeholders’ especially political leaders and state bureaucrats to remove barriers to trade.

TRADE

Many direct and indirect trade barriers continue to hinder increased trade among East Africans which could have led to increased prosperity in the region.

Ambassador Katureebe Tayebwa Consul - General of Uganda in Mombasa said more commitment was required from all stakeholders’ especially political leaders and state bureaucrats to remove barriers to trade.

This was during the Third Trade and Business Facilitation Symposium 2019 organized by the Consulate of Uganda in Mombasa and Trade Mark East Africa, an institution seeking to push prosperity in the region through increased trade.

Tayebwa cited that Uganda’s tea exports go to the Port of Mombasa for the tea auction and so the two countries need each other.

“We need to tackle the challenges that continue to hinder the seamless movement of goods in the region. We need to create networks in the region to harness the opportunities presented as well as create a platform where we can share challenges encountered in trade," Tayebwa said.

Tayebwa said trade and business facilitation will be successful when supported through transformation of the economy and investing in infrastructure.

He said the governments in the region were investing heavily in infrastructure development. “We need to increase exports from the region. No country can develop without setting up industries for exports which create jobs and bring in foreign exchange,” Tayebwa said.

Amelia Kyambadde, the minister for trade industry and cooperatives urged Ugandans and other East Africans to speak up freely against trade barriers so that the region opens up to increased trade and development.

Kyambadde said traffic Police and security personnel were found of demanding for bribes and harassing the business community and travellers in the region using flimsy excuses and offences.

Traders from the region commended the improved business environment in the region and improved use of technology that has lead to faster clearance of goods and services and tracking of cargo. They also commended the improved communication between revenue, border and security agencies and many institutions in the region that were working in collaboration and harmony.

They cited some challenges which included; lack of sufficient information on trade, services, taxes, delayed clearance of goods at Mombasa Port, dumping of containers by transporters in warehouses, high cost of bonds for containers, challenges on pre-export verification, and challenges of different standards of goods and services which reduce intra-trade in the region.

The aim of the symposium was to strengthen cooperation among stakeholders in the trade value chain in addressing common challenges and support the business community in making use of the Electronic Single Window for customs clearance of goods.

It sought to provide increased understanding on key trends and issues in regard to combating counterfeit products, Mombasa Port operations, enlighten participants on key issues of tax policy and administration.

Others are establishing a vibrant permanent platform for information sharing and amongst partners and stakeholders; creating positive mindsets to trade and increasing production for export.

The function was attended by Uganda’s High Commissioner to Tanzania  Richard Kabonero, Uganda’s ambassador to UAE  Zaake Kibedi, Uganda’s Consul General to Guangzhou Solomon Rutega, Uganda’s Charge D’Affaires to Qatar Simon Ajiku, senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Government of Uganda and officials from Kenya. The theme of the symposium was "Enhancing Trade Facilitation along the Northern Corridor".

 The symposium was a follow up of two other symposiums that where held in 2017 and 2018 organized by the Uganda Consulate in Guangzhou.

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