The Ministry of Trade has said it has started implementing the border market programme to help the country harness regional market opportunities by setting up warehouses for locally manufactured goods.
Addressing journalists about the upcoming East African Trade Development Forum scheduled for end of this month, Ms Amelia Kyambadde, the Trade minister, said working with Trade Mark East Africa, significant efficiency gains have been achieved at the ports and borders where the warehouses will be constructed.
“It is pointless for you to have a warehouse in Kampala where you pick goods to take to the border. When the construction is complete, one should be able to have their goods kept at the border,” she said.
The minister explained that after COMESA, the East African region ranked as Uganda’s second largest export market with revenues rising from $642.2m in 2014 to $711.3m in 2017 in the export of coffee, tea, spices, tobacco, iron and steel products.
Through such exports, the minister said they realised that it is mainly women and youth who are involved in cross border trade and they have developed strategies to simplify trade processes for them.
“The districts of Amuru has given us 247 acres of land at Elegu, Busia 173arces at Masafu, Kabale 238.8 acres at Katuna, Kasese 3acres at Mpondwe, Manafwa 89.3 acres at Lwakhakha and Koboko 78 hectares at Oraba,” she said.
Mr Moses Sabiti, the country director of Trade Mark East Africa, said they have been working together with the Trade ministry and development partners to create an efficient business environment, which has led to innovations like the electronic single window, which has cut the clearance time for imports and exports by over 25 per cent.
Others include the one stop border posts, reduction of none-tariff barriers, creation of the trade information portal and support to women cross border traders.