Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Vice President Jessica Alupo has said Uganda will benefit more from its relationship with China if the wide trade deficit between the two countries is narrowed.
Speaking during the celebrations to mark 60 years of Uganda’s diplomatic relationship with China, at the Kampala Serena Hotel, Alupo said that although trade has increased between the two countries, it is hugely one-sided.
According to records at the Bank of Uganda, Uganda imported goods worth 1.7 billion US Dollars from China but exported goods worth only 37.7 million US Dollars in the financial year 2021/2022. This, Alupo said should change especially by China reducing the non-tariff barriers to trade.
Alupo who was the guest of honour thanked China for providing much-needed funding for the country’s energy and infrastructural development. In the last about 10 years, China has provided credit to Uganda to finance some of its ambitious projects such as the Karuma and Isimba dams, the Entebbe Express Highway, the expansion of Entebbe Airport and investment in the oil sector.
“It is important that our relationship with China is geared towards implementing prioritized initiatives. This is critical in improving the employment levels of our young people and the standards of living for all Ugandans,” Alupo said.
For his part, Zhang Lizhong, the Chinese ambassador to Uganda said that with the removal of almost all the tariffs on goods from Uganda, he expects the terms of trade between the two countries to improve.
“We have made some important progress in our relations. For example, China has agreed to start direct flights from Entebbe to Guangzhou city in China. China granted zero tariff treatment to 98 per cent taxed items exported from Uganda…China’s investment in Uganda has set a new record as CNOOC made the final investment decision in the oil field,” Lizhong said.
He added that what is left now is for Uganda to leverage these good initiatives for its own benefit.
At the ceremony, a social responsibility report detailing the contribution of over 300 Chinese enterprises in the lifting of the social and economic welfare of Ugandans was also launched.
“While carrying out practical cooperation projects in Uganda, Chinese enterprises have always attached great importance to social responsibility work. They have carried out a series of small but beautiful social responsibility projects that benefit local people in the areas of medical and health care, job creation, education, empowerment and environmental protection,” Lizhong said.