Trade minister advises Ugandan businesses to forget about trade with Rwanda, find alternatives

The Ministry of Trade has noted a decline in trade returns on exports from 430 million USD to USD 203m in the last financial year. The Minister of Trade and Cooperatives Amelia Kyambadde has attributed the decline to the Uganda- Rwanda row, advising that as diplomatic talks continue, traders should find alternative export destinations.

While there are conflicting reports about what exactly could be happening between Uganda and Rwanda, the ministry of trade has expressed concern that the row is heavily weighing down on trade.

Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde has noted a decline in export returns, with trade between the two countries falling by more than 85 per cent since the February border closure.

“Uganda has lost a lot in terms of trade exports have gone down from about USD430M to about USD204/190M”

Rwanda first closed the Katuna border in February, fuelling speculations about the frosty relations between the two countries, a decision that many up to now view as a blow to regional trade.

She, however, advises that while political negotiations go on, traders should opt for alternative markets.

Kyambadde said, “Mirama hills is open except that there are still some non tariff barriers but we are negotiating with them, they are our neighboursand we can’t run away from them.”

She went on, “I would also advise Ugandans to look for other markets elsewhere, I was negotiating for DRC but then there is Ebola.”

Kyambadde emphasised the need for Ugandan traders and manufacturers to boost the quality of their products saying the government is embarking on widening markets to which these can sell their products.

The trade ministry is currently in negotiations with other countries to formulate the African continental free trade area, which is hoped to be the second biggest trade area globally with 24 countries already signed up so far.

“Brand your products, make sure they are quality, make sure you have sufficient quantity then you can market them elsewhere. BUBU does not confine you but encourages you”

Good quality and abundant commodities are the best way for the traders under the buy Ugandan build Uganda to maximise benefits from both local and external markets.a

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