President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has directed his administration to embrace negotiations with Kenya in dealing with trade woes that have pitted the two countries against each other.
During his New Year’s address, Museveni noted that many businesses in Uganda had lamented over the non-tariff barriers put up by countries like Kenya, with some pushing him to retaliate.
He expressed that negotiations were one of the best ways of addressing trade concerns, citing some of the achievements his administration had achieved through dialogue with past Kenyans governments.
Specifically, he cited the instances where other Kenyan governments had closed the borders for Ugandan products.
Kenya-Uganda border crossing post in Busia County.
Ministry of Interior
“The NRM will not be part of those blind policies. Some of the Ugandan business people cite the non-tariff barriers practised by other countries. In the early years of our Government, Mzee Moi, at one time, closed the border, but I rejected the arguments for retaliation.
“Today, Uganda’s exports to Kenya are either equal to our imports from there or, sometimes, they are higher. Rationality cannot be ignored indefinitely,” he stated.
On the other hand, he underlined that he would like to have the non-tariff barriers done away with to boost trade in the East African region.
In 2023, Kenya had been engaged in trade woes with Uganda, with oil and milk imports featuring predominantly.
For instance, Ruto banned the importation of milk products from Uganda in 2023 amid accusations that some Kenyan companies were importing milk powder from Uganda, mixing it with water and selling it as milk in the Kenyan market.
“There is milk from our neighbouring country and oftentimes it’s not from their farms. This is milk from foreign countries, taken to factories, and processed. A milk company in Kenya is the one doing that,” the Head of State revealed during an interview with Inooro FM in August 2023.
On the other hand, Uganda also cut ties with Kenyans businesses in the importation of oil following accusations that their profit-making strategies increased the cost of fuel products.
In the new Uganda oil importation strategy, the neighbouring country intends to purchase the fuel directly from overseas companies and transport it through Kenya.
File image of fuel attendant fueling a car