President Museveni has said that foreigners should not be allowed to engage in petty trade. He argues that foreigners should only concentrate in the manufacturing sector which requires capital and expertise.
The president made remarks at Kyankwanzi where he was addressing NRM top leadership.
‘ ‘ It is not correct for the regulators not to take action against the Chinese and Indian retailers who unfairly compete against our retailers.’’ The president said
He added: Those foreigners should not operate at that terminal level. They should be re-directed to manufacturing in particular and other areas like construction. Retailing should be preserved for the Ugandans or, possibly, the other African immigrants as well.
Over the years Ugandan traders under their umbrella body, KACITA, have decried Chinese and Indian traders who engage in petty trade. A casual visit to Kampala and major towns in Uganda, one gets to see more foreigners selling pancakes, operating small retail shops among others.
These traders are increasingly everywhere, in supermarkets, furniture shops, photo studios, and massage parlors, but mostly in run-down shopping centers in which Ugandans and Chinese operate side by side. They are also starting to bring in their own people for the manual labor that used to employ Ugandans
Because the Chinese and Indian traders (also known as brief case investors) are importing directly from home, they can afford to bring in junk. Reports indicate they import inferior goods. The Chinese merchants’ inexpensive products – such as US$1 plastic, slip-on shoes – are finding a ready market in a city where most put affordability first.
In Zimbabwe, there was even a law in 2013 to reserve retail outlets for locals but it hasn’t stopped the spread of Chinese merchants there either.
The president also asked the NRM leaders to ensure that Uganda exports more to the EU, to the USA, to China, to India, to the UAE, to Russia, to Turkey and Central Asia, to Japan and the Far East, etc.
Uganda’s trade with EU, only brings in US$433 million per year; with China, US$54.7millions per year; India, US$24.8million per year; with the USA, US$27.2 millions per year; etc. On the other hand we import a lot from these countries.
‘‘We import so much from China, India, EU, UAE etc. It is not correct to support the prosperity of others by massively importing their products (goods and services) while they do not support our prosperity through them importing our goods and services.’’ He said.