The Head- DFID Uganda Office,
Representatives of the Development Partners,
The Chairpersons-NOC Uganda and NOC Kenya,
Permanent Secretaries present here,
Members of NOC – Uganda and Kenya in your respective capacities,
The Senior and Country Directors of TMEA and your Staff,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am delighted to be here today to participate in the joint meeting of the NOC for TMEA Uganda and TMEA Kenya country programmes.
I would like to start by thanking the Management of TMEA and its Financiers for supporting development and integration of the EAC.
As you are well aware, TradeMark East Africa was established recently in 2010 to support the integration process of the EAC and the growth of trade in the region.
However, we as a region have achieved a lot together in this relatively short period of its operation especially in the area of trade and transport facilitation, which is a cornerstone for regional growth and development. Under Strategy 1 which we have just completed, I am happy to note that:
i. We have developed good facilities at most of our Key border crossings and also upgraded our Mombasa port which is a gateway for East Africa especially the Northern Corridor Partners States. This has helped to reduce time taken to import and export our goods;
ii. ii. We have also improved our trade environment through upgrading our Customs Management Systems and supporting other ICT trade systems (like Electronic Cargo Tracking System and Electronic Single Window), as well as addressing the issue of Non-Tariff Barriers to trade.
iii. We have also made progress in improving our business competitiveness through supporting our small scale farmers to meet national and regional standards in order to improve their competitiveness and market access for their produce; and
iv. iv. Lastly, we have also registered some progress in supporting the development of the Logistics industry and implementation of EAC Regional integration.
On behalf of the Works and Transport Sector in Uganda, and on my own behalf, I would like to thank the financiers and management of TMEA, and the Chairpersons and Members of NOC for these achievements. This hard work should continue to ensure better performance for Strategy 2 (2017- 2024).
At the National Level and for Uganda in particular, My Ministry was honored to host the last NOC meeting in May 2018. At this meeting, the NOC approved our application to TMEA for funding of the access road at Malaba OSBP, and to which TMEA accepted, with conditions.
As already seen on ground during our inspection tour this morning, I am happy to report that GOU has fulfilled all the financing conditions and construction works for the access road have resumed and are on schedule for completion by December 2018. I would like to thank the NOC and TMEA for the tremendous support to my Sector and the GOU as a whole.
However, we still face a few infrastructure bottlenecks at both Malaba Uganda and Malaba Kenya as identified during our tour this morning, and which we need to address so as to improve the operational efficiency of the OSBP facilities at Malaba.
These include among others; expansion of the exit gates, enhancement of security lighting and fencing, modification works, staff accommodation block, repair of access road and bridge, and many others as will be presented to you later this afternoon.
I am glad that these infrastructure bottlenecks were discussed and prioritized by the two Governments of Kenya and Uganda and the EAC during their joint inspection exercise which was conducted in mid May 2018, and also attended by TMEA.
This joint NOC meeting is therefore timely and provides an opportunity for us to jointly discuss these issues and others which may be noninfrastructure in nature and are constraining trade facilitation in our region.
On this note, I would like to request the NOC and TMEA to support these infrastructure improvements at Malaba OSBP in order to improve its operational efficiency and facilitate trade in the EAC region and beyond.
Relatedly, the Governments of Uganda and Tanzania have committed to develop the Central Corridor through Lake Victoria to the sea to promote trade between the two countries. Work for port development and rehabilitation of the railway line is on-going. However, we still face a capacity challenge of the vessels and rolling stock on the Uganda side.
The MV Pamba which was supposed to be rehabilitated together with MV Kaawa under the same Project which funded Malaba OSBP was never done due to insufficient funds on the IDA Credit. The cost of its rehabilitation is estimated at US$ 5.0 Million. I would like to interest the NOC to also support the development of the Central Corridor under the auspices of promoting regional trade and integration.
Once again, I wish to thank TMEA and other Development Partners for the enduring support and cooperation to our Governments. I also want to thank the NOC for both Kenya and Uganda for doing a good job and for making this joint NOC meeting a reality.
This initiative should be replicated to other NOCs in the EAC in order to swiftly and jointly resolve any issues affecting trade facilitation and integration at our common borders. I thank you all and I wish you good deliberations.
FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY