Uganda Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kuteesa in statement issued on Wednesday accused Rwanda government of among others; stopping Ugandan goods from entering its territory, stopping Rwandan goods and trucks from entering Uganda and operating an effective trade embargo
While movement of vehicles across the border had recently resumed normally, Minister Kutesa says goods for sale from Uganda to Rwanda are not being allowed.
“What is happening on the ground is that export of Ugandan goods to Rwanda have been prohibited by Rwanda authorities,” the minister said.
“The same authorities are only allowing crossing into Rwanda those trucks carrying transit goods destined for Rwanda or transiting through Rwanda to the Democratic Republic of Congo and other places. Goods from Rwanda and Rwanda registered trucks are not being allowed to cross over from Rwanda into Uganda by the Rwanda authorities.” He said.
The Minister also revealed that as a way of implementing the ban on Ugandan goods, Rwanda recently introduced an export permit system for those that intend to export goods to Uganda.
“This is a technical and nontariff barrier to trade, to which there has been no successful applicant. In effect, this is a trade embargo on bilateral trade with Uganda.”
Kutesa says Uganda remains committed to ensuring the free movement of persons and goods across borders. Rwanda accuses Uganda of among others hosting and supporting groups of people that are hostile to the Paul Kagame government and mistreating Rwandan citizens living in Uganda.
— Ofwono Opondo P'Odel (@OfwonoOpondo) March 13, 2019
Uganda government says only Rwandan nationals involved in illegal and criminal activities have reason to worry when they visit Uganda.
Uganda exports goods worth $250m per year to Rwanda. Rwanda only exports a paltry $16m. Uganda has over 30,000 professionals and semi skilled people working in Rwanda. Ugandan companies have multi million dollar contracts to supply goods and services in Rwanda, others have made investments there.
And Rwanda sends a large number of students to study in Ugandan schools from primary to university, not to mention over 150,000 tourists per year and they stay the longest.
It is possible therefore that Uganda earns over $500m in foreign exchange from Rwanda – which is about 8.5% of our export earnings and 2.2% of our GDP.