The Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Amelia Kyambadde has cautioned the Chinese nationals involved in trade in Uganda to stop engaging in petty trade and the importation of substandard products.
This was during a meeting held between Minister Kyambadde and the Chinese community, two days ago.
Kyambadde told journalists on Wednesday that the meeting focused on trade related issues including the long standing concern by Ugandan traders over Chinese who pose as ‘investors’ only to venture in petty trading.
“We met yesterday and we agreed that they should desist from petty trading. If they are coming in as investors, they should go for investments like small scale processing and manufacturing,” Minister Kyambadde told the press on the sidelines of the Exporters Annual Conference held at Imperial Royale Hotel.
She revealed that in order to tackle this problem, government is formulating laws that will gazette certain areas as trade zones for only Ugandan small scale businesses. She said the laws will be ready by April.
In April last year, traders in Kampala held a demonstration protesting the Chinese petty traders whom they blamed for bringing in substandard and low priced goods that have put them (Uganda traders) out of business.
The local traders argued that retail and wholesale business should be left for Ugandan nationals, and asked government to revoke licences of the Chinese traders involved in retail and wholesale businesses.
But currently, there is no provision in the law excluding foreigners from carrying out trade in the country.
In Tuesday’s meeting, Kyambadde also warned the Chinese against flooding the market with imported substandard goods.
“We also agreed that they should stop coming in without proper documentation because we noticed that once one comes in, the others also come in,” she added.
The traders were advised to work directly with Uganda Revenue Aurhority (URA), Immigration and Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) to avoid being ripped off by local middlemen.
“They acknowledged there was no proper contact with these agencies. We agreed to work together,” the Minister said.