Uganda to join Comesa FTA soon
April 23, 2006
By ANDnetwork .com
Uganda will join the Common Market for East and South Africa (Comesa) Free Trade Area within three weeks. Mr Nathan Nabeta, State Minister for Trade disclosed this during a two-day Northern Corridor Stakeholders’ Forum at Resort Beach Hotel Entebbe.
"We have applied through Cabinet by tabling a memo which we shall have approved for Uganda to become a free trade area. We just have to finish up with Cabinet and that is it", Nabeta said.
Nabeta said that Uganda is part of Comesa but had not been part of the Free Trade Area.
The Stakeholders’ Forum brings together executives from public and private institutions dealing in transit activities along the Corridor, which covers five countries of Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Nabeta said Comesa would benefit those who transact business with countries like DRC, Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda.
He also said that goods will have a zero rate tax and exports from one country to another will not attract any taxes.
"Uganda being a land locked country, entirely depends on the northern corridor through which it receives most of our imports and transport most of our exports to the sea," he said.
He appealed to Uganda Revenue Authority and the Kenya Revenue Authority to harmonise their network systems (Simba 2005 for Kenya and Asscudar for Uganda) sot that there is a compatible way of tracking goods from Kenya to Uganda.
He advised all stakeholders to take consideration of the measures they implement since these impact on other stakeholders. "The World Bank has offered a grant of Shs100m to the Northern Corridor to facilitate trade and transport," Nabeta revealed. The parliament is yet to look into the issue of trade and transport. Uganda is intending to use the money in the development of infrastructure, which will make transport easier.
A port is to be created either in Kampala or in Tororo to avoid the Mombasa cargo problem. People will be able to get their goods in two-three days rather than in 21 or more days", Nabeta said.
URA Commissioner General Allen Kagina reported that the Word Bank funded the East Africa trade and transport facilitation project, which was approved in January. The major objective of this project is to improve the movement and clearance of goods along the Corridor and facilitate the implementation of the East Africa Customs Union.
She said the project would also support the joint concessioning of the Kenya and Uganda railways so as to improve the capacity of the rail transport in the region.
Source : Monitor