Kampala- Government has said it will not block Tanzania’s rice from accessing Uganda as the country did with Kakira Sugar recently.
While opening the 26th annual manufacturer’s Trade Show in Kampala, Finance Minister Matia Kasaija said the Tanzanian rice which is currently stuck at Mutukula, will be allowed to Uganda, indicating government would not retaliate since Tanzania has been blocking a number of products such as sugar from entering its territory.
The sugar, which was later returned to Uganda, was slapped with a 25 per cent Excise Duty on claims that it had not been manufactured in Uganda.
“A few days ago, rice which was imported from Tanzania found a road block in Mutukuka and somebody was telling me that we do a tit-for-tat. But I said no. We are good brothers, I do not want to breach the advantages of East African Community,” he said while referring to a proposal by an undisclosed person who was advising government to pay back Tanzania by rejecting its rice into the country. Mr Kasaija, who represented Mr Museveni, said the President had agreed to meet manufacturers once every year to listen to their challenges with the view of finding solutions.
During last year’s Trade Show, manufacturers among other demands, asked the President to lower electricity tariffs which were eating into their revenue.
In his message this year, the President told traders that government had completed the refinancing of Bujagali Hydropower project, which would help to bring down power tariffs.
“You asked for the reduction in power tariffs and we have completed the refinancing of the Bujagali power,” he said.
Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde who was at the opening ceremony, urged manufacturers to continue with the consistence in holding the trade show, a key avenue that promotes industrialisation in Uganda.
Ms Amelia Kyambadde also urged Ugandans to support the Buy Uganda, Build Uganda (Bubu) policy, which seeks to grow the capacity of local industries.
Projects such as the Sino-Hydro Karuma dam, which procures cement worth $5.6m from Hima factory as well as government buying furniture from Uganda Prisons worth Shs351m, National Medical Stores procuring all uniforms from Nytil Picfare, have been supporting the Bubu policy.