#TDF2018 : Speech by Vice President, H.E Edward Ssekandi at the 2018 East African Trade Development Forum.

H.E Edward Ssekandi listens to an exhibitor during the 2018 EAC Trade Development Forum held at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

Derrick Kasasa.

The 2018 East African Trade Development Forum was hosted at Munyonyo Speke Resort from 28th February to 1st March. Here is the full speech by H.E Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, the Vice President of Uganda.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

You are welcome to the East African Trade Development forum 2018. On behalf of the Government and the people of Uganda, I extend a warm welcome to all of you and invite you to enjoy the hospitality of our Country.

We commend the good working relationship with our Development Partners in tackling the bottlenecks and the cost of doing business that hinder our export competitiveness.

I wish to thank the organizers of this trade development forum which is timely in assessing our trade facilitation journey and I reaffirm the Government of Uganda’s commitment to the EAC Integration agenda.

H.E Edward Ssekandi is ushered in to the 2018 EAC Trade Development Forum held at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

The forum provides an opportunity to share key milestones/ results achieved in our regional integration with support from our development partner Trade Mark East Africa in the past seven years. It will highlight their goals and objectives for the new six year strategy (2018 -2023).

In our EAC integration drive, we have made significant progress since the launch of EAC Customs Union in 2005 that include;

  • From 2006, EAC intra exports increased from US 1.07Bn to USD 1.22Bn Dollars by 2016 while the intra EAC imports increased from USD 1.07Bn dollars recorded in 2006 to USD 1.43Bn Dollars by end of 2016.
  • Establishment of the EAC Customs Union and the subsequent Common Market and Monetary Union that will come into force in 2023.

In the recently concluded EAC Summit of 23rd February 2018, whose theme was “Enhancing Social Economic Development for Deeper Integration of the Development of Deeper Integration of the Community,” we recommitted to the construction of 286 infrastructure projects over a ten year period and this will link the region.

As EAC Heads of States we have committed ourselves by 2025 to have upgraded 7,600km roads, laid 4,000km SGR, and increased the combined installed capacity of electrical power generation from 4245MW to 6734MW.

Hon Edward Ssekandi receives President Museveni’s gift at the 2018 EAC Trade Development Forum held at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

In additional, the region hopes to construct 3,000km of oil pipeline and an oil refinery, and improve efficiencies at the Mombasa and Dar es Salaam ports.

How is the performance of the region in improving the business / trade facilitation environment?

I note a reduction in the cost of doing business within the EAC countries from 2006 to 2015; as per the World Bank doing business statistics; costs to export and import for the EAC countries have reduced for the EAC countries.

  • Export costs per container for Burundi reduced from USD 6,742 in 2006 to USD 2,905 by 2015.
  • Export costs per container for Kenya reduced from USD 3,883 in 2006 to USD 2,255 by 2015
  • Export costs per container for Rwanda reduced from USD 5,154 in 2006 to USD 3,245 by 2015
  • Export costs per container for Uganda by end of 2015 stood at USD 2,800
  • Export costs per container for Tanzania reduced from USD 1,716 in 2006 to USD 1,090 by 2015

A number of trade facilitation initiatives have been undertaken with support of our development partners especially TradeMark East Africa.

Between 2010 and 2017, efficiency gains have been achieved at the ports and borders, and by revenue authorities in clearance of cargo and other agencies involved in the international trade clearance chain.

  • On the larger front, the average transport costs on the Northern Corridor have declined by an average of 48% from US$4.06/Km in 2010 to US$2.1/Km in 2017 while costs have declined by an average of 11% from US$3.37/km in 2010 to US$3.00/km in 2016 on the Central Corridor.
  • TMEA has invested in improving port efficiency in the Mombasa and Dar Ports. I am glad to report that there has been a 28% reduction in import time (11.6 days in June 2017 from 16 days in 2010) and 53% reduction in export time (6.8 days in June 2017 from 14.6 days in 2010) at the Dar es Salaam port.
  • TMEA has supported the implementation of the East African Single Customs Territory since 2014. Through these interventions, transit time from Mombasa to Kampala has been reduced from 18 to 4 days and from 25 to 5 days from Dar es Salaam to Kigali.
  • Automation of processing of key trade documents along the Central and Northern Corridors has contributed to the reduction of document processing time from an average of 79 hours (3.3 days) to 2 hours while the cost per transaction reduced from average of US$72 to US$10.
The 2018 EAC Trade Development Forum held at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

Other initiatives specific for Uganda that were implemented in partnership with TMEA over the last six years include;

  • Construction and operationalisation of the 3 One Stop Border Posts (OSBPs) at Busia OSBP with Kenya, Mutukula OSBP with Tanzania, Mirama Hills OSBP with Rwanda
  • Supported the establishment of Electronic single window that interconnects 16 border agencies and economic operators aimed at reducing the clearance time for international trade that includes imports, exports and transit.
  • Reduction of Non Tariff Barriers (NTBs) through the implementation of a web based NTB reporting system that is key in addressing the identified NTBs among the trade facilitating institutions.
  • Constructing a web based portal for export, import and transit information in Uganda.
  • Women in Trade – TMEA empowered women’s participation in intra-EAC trade through a number of interventions including the sensitization of 4776 women traders on EAC trade procedures.
  • In relation to Improving Business Competitiveness, TMEA has delivered a number of initiatives including supporting improvements in maize standards for farmers in pilot districts of Nakaseke, Masindi and Lira and Sesame standards.

As I conclude;

The Government of Uganda has enjoyed a productive partnership with TMEA and pledges to offer its support as TMEA embarks on its second phase 2018-2024.

I commend the Ministry of Works, URA, Ministry of Finance, URC, UNRA, Uganda Free Zones Authority and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and cooperatives for working closely with TMEA to deliver good results.

Special credit goes to Hon. Amelia Kyambadde for taking lead in the trade sector with TMEA.

We thank the Donors, TMEA CEO and TMEA Uganda Country program team for excellent results delivered.

For God and my Country.