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THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA

MINISTRY OF TRADE, INDUSTRY AND COOPERATIVES (MTIC)

Remarks
By Hon. Amelia A Kyambadde (MP)
Minis...
Honorable Members of Parliament
Permanent Secretaries Present
Your Excellency, the Ambassadors present
Representatives of ...
Ladies and Gentlemen, Uganda is privileged to host the COMESA Policy
Organs meetings starting from today 13 th November 20...
Ladies and Gentlemen, despite the enormous benefits created by MSMEs, they
still face many challenges. These include;
a. l...
capacity of MSMEs. These include among others; development of the SME
Policy, the SPS Policy and related regulations, the ...
November 1993. Since then, COMESA region has grown to become one of the
largest regional groupings with 19 countries and m...
Dear participants, Ladies and Gentlemen, as you may be aware, Uganda is
currently negotiating the formation of the Tripart...
I now declare the, the 31st meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of
Permanent Secretaries of COMESA, OPEN

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Hon. mtic remarks at policy organ mtg comesa tt

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Hon. mtic remarks at policy organ mtg comesa tt

  1. 1. THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA MINISTRY OF TRADE, INDUSTRY AND COOPERATIVES (MTIC) Remarks By Hon. Amelia A Kyambadde (MP) Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives At The Opening of the 31st COMESA Intergovernmental Committee Meeting Held At Speke Resort Munyonyo 15th November 2012 Theme: is ‘Enhancing Intra-COMESA Trade through MSMEs Development’ 1
  2. 2. Honorable Members of Parliament Permanent Secretaries Present Your Excellency, the Ambassadors present Representatives of Diplomatic Corp Officials from the COMESA Secretariat Officials from the Different Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies Representatives of the Private Sector Ladies and gentlemen, It is with great pleasure that I stand before you to officiate at the opening the 14th COMESA Budgetary and Administrative Committee Meeting. Allow me to start by welcoming you to Uganda. For those of you, who have come to Uganda for the first time, allow me to inform you that Uganda is the “Pearl of Africa” that is “Gifted by Nature”. This has been attested by the Lonely Planet; where Uganda has been declared as one of the wonders of the world that one must visit before they die. Indeed, I strongly recommend that you take off time from the busy schedule that lies ahead, to tour and appreciate the “Natural sceneries” in the neighborhood and enjoy the Natural Beauty that God blessed Uganda with. It is no surprise that when the Christian Missionary - Churchill first came to Uganda, he could not miss this reality and, indeed, named Uganda the “Pearl of Africa”. Karibbu Sana. 1
  3. 3. Ladies and Gentlemen, Uganda is privileged to host the COMESA Policy Organs meetings starting from today 13 th November 2012 that will culminate into the 16th COMESA Summit on 24th November 2012. As you may be aware, both the Policy Organs meeting and the summit will be held under the theme: “Enhancing Intra-COMESA Trade through MSMEs Development”. MSMEs play an important role in enhancing economic development and poverty alleviation in Uganda. You will agree that the characteristics of MSMEs are similar across Africa. The sector has significant potential to spur overall economic development and take a leading role in poverty eradication, jobs and wealth creation as well as improving the quality of life of the African people. MSME’s constitute about 90% of the Private Sector in Uganda, in terms of both formal and informal composition. They are mainly in trade, agro-processing and small scale manufacturing sectors. However; there remains the challenge of their high mortality rate, with at least one-third of all the start-ups do not see their first birthday. 80% of them are in urban areas and they contribute to 75% of National GDP and employ approximately 2.5 million people in retail trade, education and basic food processing, services of which 19.5% in Manufacturing and 0.8% Agriculture. It is estimated that there are about 1,100,000 MSMEs in Uganda, providing employment and income generation opportunities to low income sectors of the economy (PSFU, 2012). 1
  4. 4. Ladies and Gentlemen, despite the enormous benefits created by MSMEs, they still face many challenges. These include; a. lack of systematic and internationally recognized standards and quality framework; b. inadequate accessibility as well as high costs of financing; c. lack of appropriate training courses; d. low awareness and appreciation for the need to meet the required technical regulations and other trade requirements in order to trade across borders; e. Poor storage facilities and packaging materials; f. Weak or at times no links to the larger multi-nationals firms that could assist them in value addition and so on. Ladies and gentlemen; this meeting provides us with the opportunity for us to come up with measures and proposals that could assist our countries to tackle the above challenges head on. There is need to find sustainable solutions that will spur MSMEs to engage in intra-trade and hence stimulate the overall economic development for Africa. It is through trade and not aid that will develop Africa and more so, intra-Africa trade. Emphasis should be laid on the support for the Youth’s Based MSMEs. Inline with this year’s theme; Uganda has embarked on a number of reforms as well as development of various policies that are aimed at strengthening the 1
  5. 5. capacity of MSMEs. These include among others; development of the SME Policy, the SPS Policy and related regulations, the Industrial Policy, the Trade Policy and most recently, the Standards and Quality Policy. Such reforms will not only enable the MSMEs to grow and be able to compete within and beyond the COMESA region but also aim at removing the endemic NTBs that continue to hinder trade across the borders. In general, Uganda continues to implement all the key programs, and is moving towards joining the COMESA FTA. Regional integration is essentially about increasing the efficiency of the utilization of resources by eliminating barriers to trade and free movement of goods, capital and labour among member countries. As we commence discussions of the respective COMESA Policy Organs meeting, we need to refocus on the commitments outlined in COMESA Medium Term Strategic Plan (2011-2015). We need to look back at the achievements and challenges that were met in executing the previous strategic plan 2007-2010, it is from this experience that we can pick lessons and better approaches to tackle the challenges ahead. You will agree with me, the need to implement a fully fledged COMESA Customs Cooperation presents an enormous challenge that lies ahead of us. Ladies and Gentlemen; allow me to remind you that, Uganda is one of the founding members of Preferential Trade Area PTA founded in 1982. The Treaty transforming PTA to COMESA was signed in Kampala, Uganda, on 5 th 1
  6. 6. November 1993. Since then, COMESA region has grown to become one of the largest regional groupings with 19 countries and market of about 400 million people. Uganda’s total exports to COMESA increased from USD 248.55M in 2005 to USD 712.98M (an increase of about 59%) in 2010. The balance of trade improved from USD -315.675M to USD 792.814M in 2009. Foreign Direct inflows from COMESA to Uganda average USD 167.52 M. COMESA is currently Uganda’s main export destination with a market share of 58% of Uganda’s exports. Uganda is fully aware of the immense benefits of regional integration, which it has prioritized in line with its export-led development strategy and solidarity with her neighbors and Africa in general. In this regard Uganda remains committed to her obligation and membership to COMESA, EAC, and Inter Governmental Agency for Development (IGAD) and the African Union. We have undertaken extensive stakeholder consultations regarding Uganda’s joining the COMESA Free Trade Area. The last and major consultation was during the 4th National Trade Sector Review Conference held in 2011 as well as during the sector review conference in the last October 2012 1
  7. 7. Dear participants, Ladies and Gentlemen, as you may be aware, Uganda is currently negotiating the formation of the Tripartite Free Trade Area composed of the COMESA-EAC-SADC regional blocks. In this regard and based on previous studies, it has recommended that Uganda adopts a phased approach to acceding to the Tripartite Free Trade Area, first by joining the COMESA Free Trade Area, before ultimately joining the Tripartite Free Trade Area when it is finally established. Allow me to assure you, that Uganda appreciates the importance of the COMESA Free Trade Area in driving the integration agenda forward. As I pointed out earlier, a study has been concluded which recommends Uganda joining the FTA. Indeed a formal communication to that effect will be made at an appropriate level and time. On behalf of my Ministry as the coordinator for COMESA I wish to reiterate our commitment to all COMESA activities and the integration agenda. We will do everything possible to coordinate and mobilize other stakeholders to embrace and consolidate the gains made in the COMESA region so far. I wish to convey our sincere appreciation to the COMESA Secretariat and the National Organizing Committee (NOC) who have organized this meeting, to give us an opportunity to make our contribution. My special thanks go to all of you, for having accepted to participate in this COMESA Forums in Uganda. 1
  8. 8. I now declare the, the 31st meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of Permanent Secretaries of COMESA, OPEN 1

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