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Ministry decries failure to benefit from trade pacts

New Vision, Uganda

Ministry decries failure to benefit from trade pacts

3 January 2006

By David Muwanga

RELEGATION of the trade ministry to peripheral roles in anticipation that the private sector will drive development has made Uganda fail to benefit from regional and bilateral trade associations.

A statement issued recently by the trade ministry and the Uganda Programme for Trade Opportunities and Policy said Uganda is a signatory to many regional and bilateral trade agreements.

Some of them include Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, World Trade Organisation, General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs and European Union-Africa Caribbean and the Pacific.

“However, Uganda has not benefited from them because she paid more attention to conditionalities for international loans and grants at the expense of building capacity in the trade sector,” the statement said.

“This was a costly blunder as the debt over-hang weighs heavily on our economy because we have not developed our trade sector to be able to repay the loans,” it said.

Relegation of the trade ministry to the peripherals was based on the assumption that the private sector would drive the development process with very little or no government support.

“This has turned out to be false. There was failure in assessing the capacity of the private sector because it was equated to the private sector in developed countries,” the statement said.
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