Kampala — For a long time, traders in Uganda have had difficulties accessing relevant information about exportation, importation and transit processes.
But this is about to change, thanks to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed on Tuesday between the ministry of Trade and Trade Mark East Africa-Uganda (TMEA-U).
The deal between the two will enable the start of the implementation of a trade information portal, an initiative that has already sparked interest among private sector players.
The initiative is funded by TMEA with support from its partners such as UNCTAD and the International Trade Centre to the tune of about $500,000 (Shs2 billion) for two years.
It will, among other things, allow the ministry to control and manage a one-stop portal with information about export, import and transit.
"The information portal will go a long way in enhancing the doing of business environment in Uganda by reducing the cost and time spent looking for the information, making traders more productive," the acting assistant commissioner for external trade - ministry of Trade, Mr Richard Okot, said during the signing of the MoU.
The trade information portal is an online platform where all the information regarding export, import and transit of goods in Uganda will be availed to traders, government agencies and all interested parties for free.
Electronic single window
According to the TMEA-Uganda country director, Mr Moses Sabiiti whose organisation secured the $500,000 grant, to achieve the full benefit of the portal, it should be integrated with the Electronic Single Window which allows traders to clear their goods online.
He said: "Trade Information Portal will provide the traders with all the necessary information to enable them undertake the transaction on e-Single Window. And this is why the two platforms that are complementary should be integrated."
Establishment of the trade information portal is provided for within the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation, which Uganda ratified and came into force on February 22, 2017
In her remarks, Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde said: "For a long time, we have faced challenges accessing relevant and accurate information about export and imports. The trade information portal will therefore relieve us from that pressure."
She added: "We will have to make sure this succeeds and the Permanent Secretary here will ensure that the portal is monitored and properly managed and ensure all necessary information needed to enhance trade is availed, including legislation and policies we have passed."