PIC: The minister of trade Amelia Kyambade (left) listens to Johnson Abbitekaniza (centre) principal officer at the Ministry of Trade and commissioner Internal Trade, Raymond Agaba during the opening of the national conference on commercial services at Colline Hotel in Mukono district on Thursday August 11, 2016. Photos/ Francis Emorut
District commercial officers (DCOs) have been warned against corruption as this will undermine the growth of small medium enterprises.
The warning was sounded by the minister of trade and industry, Amelia Kyambadde, who said government would not hesitate to take action against the corrupt officials.
The minister reminded officers of President Yoweri Museveni's slogan of hakuna muchezo (meaning no jokes).
"There are some unscrupulous people who are extorting money from the small medium enterprises, asking for sh1 million. This is incredible. We are going to take action," Kyambadde said.
She said the officers take advantage of the tedious process of certification of commodities which is only done in Kampala.
The minister was addressing over 100 district commercial and production officers attending a national conference on district commercial services for central region at Colline Hotel in Mukono district on Thursday.
"You should watch out. Hakuna mchezo [no games]," she said.
She also accused some officers of being drunkards saying this impinges on effective and efficient service delivery to the citizens.
"The first person to receive the minister in the district is the DCO but you should not be leveled as a drunkard instead you should shine," she stated.
The minister was not done with her frustration with district officials whom she said were not doing anything to stop killing of birds for food in some districts.
"There are habits of killing birds. You should stop and discourage it because birds are our natural resources," she said.
She encouraged the district commercial officers to profile tourists' attraction sites to boost the revenue of the districts.
Kyambadde appealed to the district local leaders to sensitise the public on government programmes such as operation wealth creation, youth livelihood fund and women's fund to fight poverty and enhance economic growth.
The minister however, highlighted some of the challenges her ministry faces among them inadequate funding, lack of market access, lack of packaging materials and lack of data on small medium enterprises.
To address the challenges the minister said her ministry will continue to lobby and advocate for more funds for commercial services and a directorate to streamline small medium enterprises has been set up.
She urged the officers to utilise information from Uganda Bureau of Statistics to help them plan for the communities for social and economic development.
Simon Hess the coordinator of Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) at World Trade Organisation (WTO) implored the district commercial officers to share their experiences with the district local leaders to promote trade.
The EIF played an integral role in the implementation of the district commercial services support (DICOSS) project to the grassroots.
The project was rolled in 25 districts across the country specifically to build the capacity of district commercial officers in delivering commercial services to the grassroots.
Irene Musiime the district commercial officer of Mukono said the training she obtained from DICOSS project has enabled her to identify tourism sites in the district and trained farmers in post-harvest handling.
Samuel Mukasa commercial officer of Kayunga appealed to the ministry to recruit tourism officers to promote tourism as this would expand the revenue base.