Rwanda-Uganda Joint Technical Committees on trade issues met
Kigali, 25th June 2012- The Ministry of Trade and Industry held a Joint technical meeting between Rwanda and Uganda in order to assess the implementation status of the MoUs on elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs), Development of Micro- Small & Medium Enterprises and Cooperatives and promotion of cross border trade and development of cooperatives signed in Kampala on 27th January 2012 where it was stipulated that each country should put in place a committee to implement the above mentioned MoUs.
Talking about the Implementation progress of the MoUs, the Permanent Secretary Emmanuel HATEGEKA noted “Rwanda implemented the electronic Single Window System on a pilot basis and this is a significant milestone for Rwanda, because it facilitates electronic sharing of information between different agencies that have an interest in the movement of goods and persons across borders according to the specific needs of agencies. Rwanda has also raised the threshold for clearance of goods at the border as recommended in the last Rwanda –Uganda bilateral Meeting held in Kabale”.
The PS emphasised the importance of keeping track of progress in implementation of the MoU’s while ensuring that the work of the Joint Technical Committees are mutually supportive rather than duplicative, and that a good governance structure is laid for the management of these meetings in future.
(L-R) The PS Hategeka Emmanuel with SILVER OJAKOL, Commissioner, External Trade Department (Uganda Ministry of Trade, Industry & Cooperatives) during the bilateral Meeting
In his statement, Mr. Silver Ojakol, the Commissioner of External Trade and Head of Delegation (Uganda) expressed his gratitude to the Government of Rwanda for inviting Uganda to the meeting which had in its agenda important matters related to enhancing trade and investment relations between the two countries. “Progress in this area would spur the region to a high level specifically if the business community took advantage of the bilateral framework set up by both governments by, for example, establishing a Uganda-Rwanda Joint Business Council” Mr. OJAKOL noted.
Mr. Ojakol informed also the meeting that Uganda had made progress in strengthening the National Monitoring Committee framework following the meeting in Kabale, specifically through implementation of a National Response Mechanism on Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers to address any matters that arise in a timely manner. Through this mechanism, the capacity of the National Monitoring Committee to monitor NTB’s and advocate for their elimination at the national and regional level will be enhanced.
Among other areas of Cooperation in the MoU on Cross-Border Trade include establishment of trade information desks at the borders to resolve disputes between cross-border traders, capacity building for MSME’s, enhancing access to financing, sharing of best practices in management, promotion and strengthening of cooperatives, enhancing capacity building for the cooperative movement and staff, joint development of strategies for their removal, strengthening the operations of the National Monitoring Committees, and ensuring regular updates on the status of NTB’s in the two Partner States.