Museveni launches the trade frontier fund, issues five directives
By Our Reporter
President Museveni has expressed the need to support the private drive to increase Uganda’s export earnings.
In his maiden Quarterly address to the country that focused on supporting the Tourism sector delivered at State House Entebbe on Wednesday, the President issued five (5) directives that will see Uganda’s image presented in a more welcoming way to the world.
These include setting up Uganda Trade Hubs at Airports and aerodromes across the country, tarmacking the four export aero drones, training of staff in the hospitality industry about Uganda’s tourist locations and government institutions to harmonize communications on the matter of tourism.
The other directive was for Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to give monthly updates on the clean-up, repair and maintenance of roads in the city.
The President directed KCCA to follow the Parish model approach and have at least one Garbage truck for each of the 99 parishes, 10 garbage skips per parish and four (4) skip-loaders per division. He directed the ministry of Finance to urgently release the quarterly contribution to KCCA of UGX6bn for pot-hole filling, repairs and maintenance of roads.
“I have been told only 30% of this money has been released this financial year causing roads outside the AFDB project to fall into bad disrepair with attendant problems of traffic jams. The 41 African Development Bank (AFDB) city roads project will continue for the next four years to improve the city transport,” H.E Museveni said, adding that all cities, starting with Kampala, should have ‘lost and found’ locations and accessible places of conveniences for tourists and this should be replicated in the districts of Kabarole, Gulu, Mbarara, Soroti, Arua, Masindi, Mubende, Kabale and other locations usually frequented by tourists.
On setting up of Uganda Trade Hubs, the Head of State directed the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Ministry of Works to work with the private sector and set up these Hubs starting at Entebbe International Airport. The Hubs will be composed of coffee, chocolate, Uganda leather products, sugar, fruits, vegetables, dairy, beef, poultry, etc., and will be places for content about Ugandan on Tourism and hospitality.
“The Trade Hubs will be ran by the private sector and they will be the basis for mapping more than 10,000 tourist attractions in Uganda. Many of you know, our country has the best weather, holds the world’s most powerful waterfalls, it has some 54% of all existing mountain Gorillas and has the highest block of mountain ranges on the continent,” H.E Museveni noted.
He emphasized that the Trade Hub and private sector will work with Uganda Airlines, internet and other media channels to produce and provide content on these sites and more in collaboration with the ministry of Tourism and its institutions of Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). According to the President, the Hub idea will be replicated at all aerodromes across the country wherever tourists land, including the border points.
The President added that the Trade hubs will also be in Belgrade, Serbia, the Uganda UN mission in New York, Uganda High commission in London, Uganda High Commission in Kinshasa, Uganda missions in Brussels and South Africa, Uganda mission in Beijing, Uganda mission in the UAE and Uganda mission in India.
On tarmacking the four export aerodromes of Pakuba, Kasese, Kidepo and Kisoro with hard surfaces and other appropriate facilities to allow arrivals that don’t need to first get to Entebbe airport, the President also directed that aerodromes should have international codes to allow tourists booked directly to the game parks.
“The CAA should work with the private sector and the ICAO and IATA, where necessary, to gazette and improve safety standards so that these aerodromes can be given international codes,” the President said.
He also directed the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to work with telecom operators to provide broadband internet in the game lodges and in the aerodromes including 5G networks for places like Hospitals, hotels and educational institutions.
All the border points according to President Museveni, starting with Malaba, Mpondwe, Elegu, Mutukula should be treated as export and tourism points and have the private sector involved in the design and set up of the Hubs.
He directed the ministry of Works and Transport to have information points, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) for those who need to change or withdraw money to pay at the road tolls.
“When visitors arrive after midnight and are unable to exchange money at the airport, how will they use your road toll if you don’t provide facilities for them?” H.E Museveni wondered!
The President wants every high category visitor who comes to Uganda for a week to at least spend USD10,000 in Uganda after providing them with better information. He said the Non-Aligned Movement international Conference that Uganda will be hosting in January 2024 will attract visitors from over 100 member countries meaning, hotels and booking agents should be preparing to take advantage of this opportunity to attract more arrivals.
At the same meeting, the President launched the Trade Frontier Fund (TFF) which will help exporters to underwrite their invoices and provide them with working capital.
He thanked the committee on exports for finding ways to leverage and match the funds given to them and for connecting with scientists to commercialize their findings with the private sector.
“I thank the Private sector Foundation, the UNDP and others who have joined the effort to increase our exports, drive manufacturing and industry and to support the private companies,” H.E said.
At the same meeting, President Museveni welcomed a delegation from the Republic of Serbia led by their Minister of Trade Hon. Tonislav Momirovic and thanked them for choosing Uganda as a partner to improve trade relations. Mr Tonislav delivered a message from the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić to President Museveni.
“I thank them for bringing us processors of pineapples and buyers of our products,” Museveni said.
The meeting was organized by the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) headed by Mr. Odrek Rwabwogo, that brings together all trade representatives, allowing them to network, learn and build strategies with Uganda private sector local input.
It was attended by among others the Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, Hon. Martin Mugara the Minister of State for Tourism, Hon. Harriet Ntabazi the Minister of State for Trade, the Deputy Attorney General Hon Jackson Kafuzi, Hon David Bahati, Dr Monica Musenero and private sector exporters in the key 13 products.
It should be noted that on March 28, 2023, President Museveni met exporters in the 13 product categories that the advisory committee on exports is targeting to raise USD6bn in the next five years. These were Coffee, Fruits, vegetables, Flowers, bananas, dairy, beef, sugar, cement, steel, tourism, poultry, fish and grains.