President Yoweri Museveni has said there is need to abolish non-tariff barriers for the East African countries to become prosperous.
President Museveni, who was addressing the East African Legislative Assembly, Friday, August 21, 2015 said goods and services should be exported within the region without any hindrances.
“We need to deepen economic integration; there will be greater prosperity when we remove non-tariff barriers,” said President Museveni.
Speaking about the controversy surrounding the recent negotiations with Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta about Uganda’s sugar exports to Kenya, Museveni promised to call Kenya’s Opposition leader about the issue.
“I will call my brother, Raila Odinga. Uganda’s sugar and goods should go to Kenya without any hindrance,” he said adding that “We do not need to negotiate. No one will lose.”
He said that the coastal countries of Kenya and Tanzania would continue to be prosperous even if they stopped working because of the dues they collect from the countries in the hinterland.
Museveni said there was need to balance trade between Uganda and Kenya. Kenya has overtaken Uganda in exports from US$12m compared to US$200m in 1986 to the current $700m compared to US$150m.
He said EAC countries and Africa in general are working towards removing “strategic bottlenecks” to modernization, including market fragmentation, security, infrastructure and the uneducated human resource.
The President said the United States had declared its intention of being superior on land, air, water and space but that Uganda and the region needed “security against those who want to dominate us.”
The President said that he had forwarded a proposal to the EAC Summit about the requirement to have motor vehicles and motor cycles locally assembled. He said this was an idea picked from Ethiopia, which saves 57% of the cost by locally assembling motor vehicles and motorcycles.
He said in the process, Ethiopia created 160,000 jobs, which also came with technology transfer in the industry.
EALA Speaker, Rt. Hon. Daniel Kidega, appealed to the President to hasten the process of creating the monetary union and the political federation.
“Revisit the issue of fast tracking the political federation. The federation will make us stronger and more united. Without the political federation, we shall remain vulnerable to the dangers of the world,” said Hon. Kidega.
He said EALA faced challenges due to the varying schedules of elections in partner states.
He hoped that elections, which cause excitement, do not to stir up emotions that may lead to disruptions and threaten investors.
“I appeal that this electoral processes build more integration and prosperity to the people,” he said.
The East African Legislative Assembly has been meeting in the Parliament of Uganda Chambers since Tuesday, August 18, 2015.