BUSINESS: 7 Bills Enacted, 6 Realigned to Boost Trade in Uganda – Minister Kyambadde

Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde (FILE PHOTO)

Kampala – The Ministry of trade, Industry and cooperatives, Amelia Kyambadde revealed that up to seven Bills had been approved to expedite business in Uganda over the past five years.

While addressing the media at OPM auditorium for the Manifesto Week, Minister Kyambadde affirmed that the bills reflected the government’s effort to liberalise and grow the nation’s economy.

A total of thirteen bills had been tabled before parliament; with up to seven cleared by the august house and later ascended to by His Excellency (President Museveni).

Below are some of the acts/Bills passed under the last government term.

  • The Sugar Act, 2020
  • The Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Act. 2019. Cap. 112
  • National Policy on Services Trade.
  • Ratification of the EAC-COMESA-SADC Tripartite Free Area Agreement (FTA)
  • Ratification of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement
  • Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act
  • The COMESA Treaty Implementation Act

The trade Minister intimated that other six bills/policies had been realigned and await ascension by Parliament and the president.

“In efforts to push for trade development and economic transformation, these bills would be critical in setting standards and leveling plane field of doing business in/with Uganda. Bills like the Legal Metrology Bill, Industrial and Scientific Metrology Bill, Competition Bill, Consumer Protection Bill and National Industrial Policy await ascension to be integrated into the policy framework of Uganda,” Hon. Kyambadde said.

Other key achievements to note for the government included trade development that saw an improvement in import-export trade in Uganda.

“Uganda’s merchandise exports, a majority of which are agricultural, increased by 40.2% between 2016-19, increasing from US$ 2.92125 billion in 2016 to US$ 4.09565 billion in 2019,” read Kyambadde.

Trade Minister also intimated that average annual growth rate of exports between 2016-19 is recorded as 10% in efforts to address the trade deficit.

Trade facilitation Initiatives are being employed to exponentially grow the economy and harmonizing aids.

Established in November 2018, the trade information portal Is one such initiative the government has put forth to aid access to info and data on export, import and transit of goods.

In the report of manifesto progress, minister Kyambadde disclosed that Electronic Single Window (e-SW) System was also yet another success that saw different agencies share data to address the delays in the clearance of goods.

“Some of the MDAs and stakeholders plugged onto the e-SW system included Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), National Drug Authority (NDA), Uganda Free Zones Authority (UFZA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), Dairy Development Authority (DDA), Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB), Warehouse Operators, Clearing Agencies, Transporters, among others,” affirmed Kyambadde.

Others include: Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD), Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives (MTIC), Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), Airlines- International Air Transport Association (AITA) and Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industries (UNCCI).

The system has cut clearance time for imports and exports by over 25% and better revenue collections.

NTB Reporting System was established as reporting tool for Non-Tariff Barriers (NTB) faced in business whilst bring all the stakeholders together to ease filing and addressing of complaints raised by traders/businessperson.

“The system enables reporting by mobile phone, the user dials USSD Code *201# and follows instructions to select the appropriate NTB to report, and then submits a complaint,” said Kyambadde.

She added: “Over 86% of all NTBs reported through the system were address thus reducing movement of goods from Mombasa to Kampala from 21 days in 2011 to 4 days in 2018. This considerably abridged the delays and costs of moving goods in and outside of Uganda across trading member states.”

With Support from Trade Mark East Africa, construction of three OSBPs was completed; these include Mutukula OSBP with Tanzania, Busia OSBP with Kenya, and Mirama Hills OSBP with Rwanda. Construction of Elegu border post with South Sudan was completed and opened in 2019.

BUBU Policy Implementation

With Covid 19 epidemic, responsiveness of Local Industries have been enabled by Buy Uganda, Build Uganda (BUBU) Policy to produce Sanitizers, salt (Kampala), NYTIL (Masks and Protective Wear). 

Other key impacts of the BUBU policy included:

  • UNRA has so far awarded contracts worth UGX 3.7 trillion as of March 2019. Out of this, contracts worth UGX 450 billion (12%) were reserved to Local Providers by threshold.
  • An additional UGX 423 billion (11%) was awarded to Local Providers through mandatory sub-contracting by foreign providers.
  • Thus a total value of contracts awarded to Local Providers is 23% representing UGX 890 billion of the UNRA budget (UGX 3.7 trillion) UGX 450 billion
  • National Medical Stores procured medical supplies worth UGX 156 Billion from Local Manufacturers by the end of March 2019.

Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Ltd by March 2019 awarded contracts to National Companies worth UGX 1.1 billion while Uganda Electricity Transmission Company awarded contracts to National Companies worth UGX 1.1 billion

Supermarket shelf share space has grown from 20% to 40% for dry goods, and fresh goods from 30% to 70%.

Steel industries have grown from 22 to 24 companies. Capacity has grown from 886,000 Metric Tons to 1.7 Million Metric Tons.

Two additional Cement factories have been established; Simba Cement Uganda and Hima Cement Tororo

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