AGOA progress is exciting-Kadaga
The Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga says the fruits of the African Growth and Opportunity Act(AGOA) are starting to bear as seen by the large exports to the United States.
“We are sometimes blamed for travelling but I think our going to the US Congress to lobby for AGOA was really important to this country,” Kadaga said.
Kadaga said this whole opening a two day workshop and exhibition at Parliament, Tuesday, 14 May 2019. The exhibition has brought together Ugandan manufacturers and traders under the AGOA arrangement.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a legislative arrangement under the United States Trade Laws that enables selected African Countries to export products to the US Market.
Kadaga said she was thrilled by the pace at which Ugandan products are making their way into the US market.
“I am really excited that despite the absence of a big secretariat of AGOA, the public is moving faster than government; there are many Ugandan products on the US market, ” she said.
Kadaga narrated how she led a delegation of Members of Parliament to the US Congress to lobby for AGOA in the 1990s, on hearing that AGOA was about to close and that Uganda had not significantly benefited.
There was no arrangement to coordinate Ugandans making products that could qualify for the US market. I could not locate an office where I could direct my people in Kamuli on where they could get information on AGOA, ” Kadaga said.
The Speaker commended the Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Hon Amelia Kyambadde for mobilizing exporters and lobbying for funds. She also hailed the senior Presidential advisor on AGOA and Trade; Suzan Muhwezi whom she said has been on the top of promoting Ugandan products.
She urged Parliament to address taxation issues that are ‘painful’ to exporters citing instances where Ugandan manufacturers import raw materials at high costs.
“You have heard of exporters who buy leather from Kenya yet we have many animals in Uganda. I want to urge MPs to improve the environment for AGOA and to improve finances for our people, ” she said.
Kadaga pledged to push for Ugandan exporters under the AGOA arrangement at the forthcoming Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in September .
“Parliament is hosting a big meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentarians in September and we shall be doing procurements. From what I have seen, we do not need to look beyond Uganda, . ” Kadaga added.
Hon Amelia Kyambadde said the country needs to support exporters with raw materials so as to make business easy.
”Imagine importing leather from Kenya, yet we have leather from here.There are many companies coming into the country to invest in making leather, ” she said.