What you need to know:
- Yesterday, Mr Aga Sekalala Junior, the chairman of Poultry Association of Uganda, said whereas he was not aware of the meeting, it was important that the two governments dialogue to find a last solution.
- President Museveni has previously dismissed such attempts, noting that issues would only be resolved through dialogue.
A delegation of Ugandan government officials is in Kenya to discuss how to resolve the ongoing trade war without escalating it, sources close to the matter have told Daily Monitor.
The sources, who asked for anonymity because they are not authorised to speak about the matter, said government officials had arrived in Kenya on Monday night to find a lasting solution to a two-year trade war in which a number of Ugandan products have been subjected to blockades.
It was not immediately clear, which government officials were involved but sources said participants had been drawn from the Ministry of Trade and Agriculture, among others.
Agriculture Minister Frank Tumwebaze, yesterday confirmed the meeting, noting government would issue a ommuniqué in due course.
“We are in Kenya. We shall issue a communiqué on the agreed position with the leaders here,” he said in a message exchange without giving more details.
Daily Monitor had sought to understand how far the Agriculture Ministry had gone in identifying which goods had been mapped for banning as a retaliation to avenge Kenya’s continued ban on a number of Ugandan exports.
The meeting comes at a time after Uganda had last week warned Kenya of impending retaliation, which would include banning yet-to-be identified goods from entering the country’s market.
Uganda has for close to two years now suffered under a trade war in which a number of goods, among them sugar, milk, maize and poultry and beef products have been blocked from entering Kenya with little or no explanation at all.
Last week, First Prime Minister and East African Community Affairs Minister Rebecca Kadaga, said Cabinet had decided to retaliate against Kenya for continuously banning Ugandan products with no clear reasons.
Cabinet, she said, had directed the Agriculture Ministry to list Kenyan products that will be banned, noting that the trade squabbles between the two EAC partner states had “gone on for too long”. “Within a short time they (Kenya) too will understand what we are going through.”
“We have been patient. In the past, we have not retaliated, but now we are going to. As the Agriculture Ministry drafts the list of potential products to ban, the East Africa Ministry and their trade counterparts are to continue engaging Kenyan authorities over the pending issues,” Ms Kadaga said.
Her pronouncement had come on the back of a petition in which, poultry farmers, under the Poultry Association of Uganda had petitioned government to find solutions for an ongoing ban in which Kenya had since January blocked Uganda’s meat and poultry products from entering its market.
In a January 14 memo, Kenya added poultry and meat products on a long list of banned Ugandan imports, a move in which Dr Obadiah N Njangi, the Director of Veterinary Services said sought to support its “producers to recover from disruptions in their livestock enterprises occasioned by Covid-19”.
Dialogue good business
Yesterday, Mr Aga Sekalala Junior, the chairman of Poultry Association of Uganda, said whereas he was not aware of the meeting, it was important that the two governments dialogue to find a last solution.
“I am not aware of the meeting, but I believe dialogue is good for business,” he said.
It will be interesting to see which direction the negotiations take since industrialists have already welcomed the retaliation, noting it was time for “Uganda to also show it is capable of playing this card [blocking goods] when pushed hard on the wall”.
President Museveni has previously dismissed such attempts, noting that issues would only be resolved through dialogue.