Uganda trade minister to engage her Tanzanian counterpart over harassment of UG traders in TZ

Cicero

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Jan 20, 2016
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Minister of Trade Industry and Cooperatives, Amelia Kyambadde is to engage her counterpart in Tanzania to find solutions to ongoing standoff between Ugandan traders and officials from Tanzania.

This stems from revelations from traders that they are often harassed and charged different fares and sometime their goods are confiscated even when they meet the requirements.

They made the call to the minister who was recently touring the Mutukula border post.

Through the Rakai district chairman, Benon Mugabi, traders said Ugandan trucks are not allowed to load from Tanzania’s district of Gisenyi. He added that when smugglers run to Tanzania, it still takes lengthy clearing procedures to get into Tanzania to pursue them.

He was joined by the chairperson of cross border women traders, Jane Benuza who reported that they are forced to pay more than two clearing agents to get their goods on the Ugandan side even when they have a certificate of origin.

"You have to pay a clearing agent in Kyaka before getting to the actual border of Tanzania and then later you pay the one considered as the final agent on the Tanzanian side, when you inquire they brand you a noisy person and even harass you more ,the next time you go trading," explained Benuza.

Kyambadde who is the chairperson of the EAC council of ministers promised to follow up the matter through the council of ministers at this year’s EAC summit, being chaired by Uganda.

“As a chairperson of council of minister I plan to take it on, so we can address such conflicts. Conflicts are not good especially now that we have high hope in these border posts,” she said.

She however asked local leaders and the affected traders, to document all reports so they she can raise it with evidence.

“I have advised local leaders to document these incidents, because the chairperson was talking without any documented evidence, they may deny and when you probe further, they will ask for evidence which you may not be having,” she said.

According to Kyambadde, Mutukula border is one of Uganda’s important routes for trade since Mombasa is congested. She added that this could be an alternative route in case of chaos in Kenya like it was in the last election that resulted into violence which affected the business community most.

The border post was constructed in 2016, with funding from DFID through Trademark East Africa (TMEA) and government of Uganda.

Since its construction, revenue collections by URA have more than doubled, according to the commissioner customs, Dickson Kateshumba.

In 2014 URA collected sh61b, sh131b in 2016 and they expect to collect more this year with the growing traffic according to Kateshumba.

He added that last month, customs recorded 130 passenger buses crossing to Uganda and 105 buses heading to Tanzania, an indication of the growing transactions at the border.
 

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