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YOUR PLATFORM: We Can Boost Our Export Trade

By Vision Reporter

Added 8th July 2003 03:00 AM

President Museveni has become a devoted trade campaigner with emphasis on an export led economy.

President Museveni has become a devoted trade campaigner with emphasis on an export led economy.

By Frank Tumwebaze
President Museveni has become a devoted trade campaigner with emphasis on an export led economy.
It all started when Uganda achieved a major turn around in the 1990s, following sweeping economic and institutional reforms after 1987. Macro-economic stability was achieved and maintained with annual inflation rates below 5% per year for most of the second half of the 1990s. average income per capita rose from $200 in 1990 to $330 in 2000, a 65% increase. There was also a significant reduction in poverty from 56% of the total population in 1992 to 35% in 2000. On average, the economy grew at a rate of 6.8% per year from 1992-1998.
The good economic policies promoted macro-economic stability and removed the serious price distortions that had led to total economic collapse before 1986/87. Among the policies which helped to achieve the above, was the wide range of economic and structural reforms implemented by government. All this, however, did not satisfy the president’s desire to build a self-reliant Uganda. His next challenge was to analyse the chances of Uganda benefiting from the regional market. He advocated for the revival of the East African Community, with a common market. Uganda continued its pursuit for bigger markets and thus became a signatory to: the World Trade Organisation, the Africa-Caribbean-Pacific/European community agreement, the EC ( “Everything but Arms) agreement, which like all other developing countries, give Uganda unconditional and unlimited access to the EU market. We also signed the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the East Africa Community free trade Agreement and the AGOA. The challenge now is to translate the same advocacy into one for increased production processing in order to add value and finally marketing. this has to be done bearing in mind the competitiveness of the world market. We must put aside politics in addressing some of the challenges we have in the export sector. As already identified, more export incentives have to be put in place. The no-tax policy on exports has to be welcomed and the weaknesses in its administration urgently attended to. Our exports are eligible for VAT refunds and duty draw back under the individual duty draw back system. The taxation authority (URA) must educate the exporters on the procedure of getting tax refunds on exports promptly.
We must also continue to make the business environment more enabling.
Different surveys of businessmen, domestic and foreign, point out the significant improvements in the enabling business environment in recent years.
Ends

YOUR PLATFORM: We Can Boost Our Export Trade

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