The 3rd Trade and Business Facilitation Symposium organized by the Consulate of the Republic of Uganda in Mombasa commenced Monday morning at the Pride Inn Hotel in Mombasa.
The Symposium is taking place theme ‘Enhancing Trade Facilitation along the Northern Corridor’.
Key on the agenda is in depth discussions on how to increase the level of trade between the two countries and how best to utilize the Northern Corridor.
In attendance is Hon. Amelia Anne Kyambadde Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Hon. Members of Parliament of respective Committees on Trade, Foreign Affairs , Uganda’s Consul General to Mombasa Amb.
Tayebwa Katureebe, Amb. Kiema Kilonzo, Kenya’s High Commissioner to Uganda, Amb. Richard Kabonero Uganda’s High Commissioner to Tanzania, Uganda’s Ambassador to UAE, Amb. Zaake Kibedi, Uganda’s Consul General to Guangzhou Amb. Solomon Rutega, Uganda’s Charge D’Affaires to Qatar Amb. Simon Ajiku, Amb. Paul Mukumbya Head Regional Peace Dept., Mr. Micheal Wamai Head Regional Economic Dept, Commissioner Dickson Kateshembwa Commissioner Customs and other Senior officials Government of Uganda and Officials from the Republic of Kenya.
In her opening remarks, Hon. Amelia noted that the main objective of this symposium is to bring together different stakeholders involved in trade facilitation to discuss and exchange views and provide an opportunity to address existing and emerging the challenges faced in the export and import trade.
The Minister further reiterated that Government of Uganda remains committed to the EAC Regional Integration processes and putting in place measures to facilitate trade noting that the fact that this Symposium is taking place at Mombasa Port, which is the main Port connecting the hinterland to international markets is manifestation of the thrust on enhancing trade with the land locked country.
Since 2015, Transit Traffic cleared through the port has witnessed a growth of 6.5% percent.
As of today, Mombasa Port has recorded a container growth 14.3%, of this 75% of the transit traffic is destined for the Ugandan Market; making Uganda the second largest user of the Port after the Republic of Kenya.
Amb. Katureebe, Uganda’s Consul General in Mombasa informed that some of the expected outcomes of this 2 day Business Symposium include strengthening cooperation; and enhancing coordination and partnerships among stakeholders in the trade value chain in addressing common challenges, Provision increased understanding on key trends and issues in regard to combatting counterfeit products, Enlighten on key issues of tax policy, administration and the rationale to pay taxes.
He further reiterated that the Symposium will deliberate on some common challenges affecting the business community in Mombasa namely; Scanning of transit cargo, Delays in verification of cargo , Overstay of cargo at Container Freight Stations by importers, Under declaration and mis declaration by the business community to mention but a few.
In his opening remarks, H.E. Kiema Kilonzo Kenya’s High Commissioner to Uganda noted trade relations with Uganda have increased to about USD 1.5 billion as exports from Uganda to Kenya.
It is now USD 77.4 billion from Kenya to Uganda. In the Tourism Industry, it is about USD 1.5 billion with Kenya.
He further highlighted that much as one of the key objectives of this symposium is to Provide an opportunity for participants to appreciate the Kenya import market, emphasis should be made on addressing the Non Trade Barriers that impede and slow down trade between both countries.
The symposium will have interactive sessions and presentations from the Private Sector, Government Officials and other Stakeholders involved in the import and export business to exchange views on opportunities, challenges faced, lessons learnt and strategies.
These will include; Officials from Government Ministries and Institutions both from Kenya and Uganda, such as: Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA), Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB) and representatives from Uganda Missions in Nairobi, Dar-es Salaam and Guangzhou; select Members of the Parliamentary Committees on Tourism, Trade and Industry; and Foreign Affairs; as well as the Private Sector Foundation, Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA); Uganda Insurance Association; Ugandan Traders (Importers and Exporters); Diaspora; Logistics and forwarding companies; Shipping Lines to Uganda; Uganda-bound Cargo Handlers; and PVoC-designated Inspection Agencies (SGS, Intertek, Veritus) etc.
The 3rd Trade and Business Facilitation Symposium sponsored the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Trade Mark East Africa, Uganda Property Holdings, Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Coordination Authority.