Kampala. The Despite regularly defaulting on her obligation to pay up the bloc’s membership contribution, Uganda has been applauded for her attempts to enforce the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) treaty.
Among the 19-member states, Uganda is one of the countries that have made progress in the domestication of the treaty.
In 2016, Uganda passed the Comesa Treaty Implementation Act, paving way for among other things the establishment of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa in Uganda.
Uganda has also taken steps to implement the Comesa Customs Union instruments. For example it has implemented 100 per cent of the alignment to the Customs Management Regulations, 74 per cent alignment to Customs Tariff Nomenclature and 74 per cent alignment to Common External Tariff.
All this eases trade between Uganda and the Comesa countries; especially those that have entered the bloc’s free trade area.
Speaking during the Comesa Council of Ministers meeting that sat in Lusaka, Zambia last week, Uganda was commended for prioritising infrastructure development especially energy and the road network which the meeting described as a recipe for boosting regional trade.
The Comesa Council of Ministers officiated by the vice president of Zambia, Ms Inonge Wina, unanimously applauded Uganda for the progress made in fulfilling the objectives of the common market, particularly in infrastructure development over the last two years.
Justifying the country’s irregular membership contribution, Uganda’s minister of Trade Amelia Kyambadde, who represents the country on the Comesa Council of Ministers, said this is a matter that will be addressed.
In the meeting she also noted that the severe drought that hit the country, the security situation in South Sudan and the long electioneering period in the region negatively impacted the economy, leading to a decline in export performance and revenue collection.
She, however, reaffirmed that Uganda is now recovering from the challenges and it will soon regularise its subscriptions to Comesa.
According to a statement issued by the ministry of Trade recently, Ms Kyambadde reaffirmed Uganda’s commitment to the regional arrangement indicating that the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa regional bloc remains the main destination for Uganda’s exports.
She said: “Particularly the period 2015, Uganda’s export earnings from the Comesa region were registered at $1,263 million representing 48 per cent of Uganda’s total exports. This trend has been in favour of Uganda over the past five years.”
During the meeting, the ministers observed that Comesa region’s growth registered a slight decrease to 5 per cent in 2016 from 6 per cent in 2015.
This trend was attributed to a number of factors including weak global economic conditions, adverse weather conditions characterized by droughts and floods.