Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Amelia Kyambadde has said cabinet has constituted a sub-committee to look into and address the fact that there is no law that prevents foreigners from engaging in petty trade in Uganda.
The sub-committee has finalized its main task which was to come up with a national policy objective to guide trade. It will be presented to cabinet soon, Kyambadde told the press Thursday.
Kyambadde said this at a joint press briefing with Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS).
“Cabinet constituted a sub-committee to study this matter and come up with a national policy objective to guide trade by non-citizens. The sub-committee has finalized its report that will be presented to cabinet,” she said.
The briefing follows several complaints from the business community concerning a number of issues that affect their operations. Top of them is the influx of foreigners in petty trade which is driving citizens out of business and “unfair treatment” of traders (tenants) by the landlords in Kampala. (SEE FULL STATEMENT BOTTOM)
There are also reported delays in clearance of goods by URA caused by valuation at the Centralized Data Processing Center (DPC) and reported regular system failure of Asycuda World Clearing System in addition to reported delays in clearance of goods by UNBS and testing services.
“Government is equally concerned with the influx of foreigners in petty trade and a number of interventions have been made to address the matter,” Kyambadde said.
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The subcommittee to look into the issues has finalized its report and addresses several areas of concern. The draft proposals define who a foreigner is, restricts the said foreigners from dealing in certain categories of goods, addresses distribution and suggests increasing the threshold from the current requirement of $100,000 to an agreed threshold in the Investment Code Act.
URA explains DPC
Uganda Revenue Authority Commissioner General Doris Akol explained the regional benefits that the Centralized Data Processing Center (DPC) and ASYCUDA World Clearance System offer to businessmen locally and in the region.
Akol said the Document Processing Centre has actually shortened the customs declaration processing time.
“The DPC system minimizes staff, clearing agent and trader direct interference. This helps enhance independence and roles separation in the customs clearance process,” Akol said.
Akol revealed that URA has also increased the number of staff that receive the issues and ensure they are resolved in the shortest time possible.
She revealed that a help desk has been created inside the DPC to further support this function.
“We encourage all the clients to use the help tool as the only channel for receiving and managing the complaints that may be raised,” Akol said.