In their meeting with a team from of the Ugandan Ministry East Community Affairs at Mutukula border in Kyotera district, Uganda traders have bemoaned the unclear trade restrictions imposed upon them when they attempt to cross with their merchandise into Tanzania.
Jenifer Nassiwa, the Vice Chairperson of Mutukula Traders’ Association, has in her report indicated that many traders have incurred losses when their merchandise are denied free movement into Tanzania.
Ugandan traders have said they are unhappy with the unclear strict trade restrictions into Tanzania despite the full implementation of the East African Common Market Protocol.
In 2009, the East African Community member states signed a protocol for the establishment of a common market which was premised on principles of free movement of goods, persons, labour, services and capital between the five partner states.
However, the Ugandan traders that use the Mutukula One Stop Border Point are complaining that their counterparts in Tanzania are falling short of the protocol requirements by denying them free movement of trade across their territory.
In their meeting with a team from the Ministry of East African Community Affairs at Mutukula border in Kyotera district, Uganda traders have bemoaned the unclear trade restrictions imposed upon them when they attempt to cross with their merchandise into Tanzania.
Jenifer Nassiwa, the Vice Chairperson of Mutukula Traders' Association has in her report indicated that many traders have incurred losses when their merchandise are denied free movement into Tanzania.
She explains that in addition to restricted movement of goods, the few lucky traders that cross from into Tanzania are also subjected to very long bureaucratic processes before their goods are cleared at the Tanzanian Customs Union centers which causes huge losses to dealers in perishable food staffs that often go bad before reaching the market destinations.
Nassiwa also faulted the Tanzanian customs authorities of being too slow in providing feedback on complaints filed to their offices.
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Joseph Wanzala, one of the traders at Mutukula says that they are often harshly treated when they cross to do business in Tanzania, where authorities falsely accuse them of smuggling in goods.
He alleges that these restrictions are deliberately intended to benefit Tanzanian business brokers who eventually exploit desperate Ugandan traders at the border post.
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David Mujaasi, another trader at Uganda-Tanzania border of Mutukula has also complained of the sudden fluctuations in tax rates charged by the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) that often eat into their working capital hence affecting their businesses.
Mujaasi has asked the Ministry to protect the traders from unbearable losses by compelling URA to regularly update them about future changes in tax levies, to enable traders effectively plan in advance.
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Julius Maganda Wandera, Uganda's State Minister for East African Community Affairs says through bilateral engagements with Tanzanian authorities, they are going to thoroughly study the complaints raised by the traders. He however said restrictions could be caused by existing disparities in quality and standard tests that is also being harmonized.
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