New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: No Licences for Unregistered Foreign Petty Traders

The Government will stop issuing licenses to foreign petty traders who have not registration. The registration, according to trade ministry officials is to count the foreign traders in this category so that their activities are guided and supported by the Government.

The traders are required to carry a copy of a trading license, certificate of incorporation and directors of the company or business they operate and a passport for proof of identity.

The exercise which is coordinated by the minister of trade, Amelia Kyambadde, started early this month and ends today but only 23 traders had registered by Tuesday.

The minister stressed that failure to register would lead to cancellation of licenses in accordance with the Ugandan laws.

In a statement released recently, Kyambadde, said the ministry had received persistent complaints from the business community concerning the influx of foreigners in petty trade.

She also said during her business tour in the city she found that most foreign traders are operating businesses they had not been licensed to do. The registration is for those in the greater Kampala, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Wakiso and Mukono districts.

To be considered a foreign petty trader, one must have a business whose capital is below $100,000 (about sh265m).

When the exercise started, it received a cold reception as most foreign traders in this category shunned the exercise.

However when the New Visionvisited the ministry of trade, it found that a few traders had responded to the call for registration which was advertised in the press this early this month.

Ministry officials said the Chinese and Indian business associations heads visited the ministry saying their members feared to register individually for fear of possible deportation. They were, however, advised to ask their members to come and register personally.

Kyambadde added that the pseudo "investors" are abusing the provisions of section 10 of the Investment Code, Act sub-section 5 and 6 of depositing a sum of $100,000.

"Foreign petty traders have dominated the entire distribution chain of commerce through engaging in manufacturing, wholesale, retail, and hawking. This is an anticompetitive practice" she added.

A senior commercial officer, Reuben Rwekuuta, said the involvement of foreign petty traders in business in the country discourages the existence of real investors who are needed in the economy.

"We want to create a database where we can have a flow of information between the investors and the Government so that we have well-coordinated activities and help genuine business people where necessary," Rwekuuta said.

He added: "Many investors have been duped into paying money by people claiming to be ministry officials just because they lack the right information".

He said investors support the growth of the economy by through technology and skills transfer among others. The exercise is being conducted from Farmers house, the ministry of trade Kyambadde, started early this month and ends today but only 23 traders had registered by Tuesday.

The minister stressed that failure to register would lead to cancellation of licenses in accordance with the Ugandan laws.

In a statement released recently, Kyambadde, said the ministry had received persistent complaints from the business community concerning the influx of foreigners in petty trade.

She also said during her business tour in the city she found that most foreign traders are operating businesses they had not been licensed to do.

The registration is for those in the greater Kampala, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Wakiso and Mukono districts.

To be considered a foreign petty trader, one must have a business whose capital is below $100,000 (about sh265m). When the exercise started, it received a cold reception as most foreign traders in this category shunned the exercise.

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