The Minister of Trade Industry and Cooperatives Amelia Kyambadde on Wednesday officiated the groundbreaking ceremony for constructing the Busia Border Export Zone Site as Uganda moves to strengthen its export sector.
It is one of the five export zones that the country is planning to set up at a projected cost of Shs400 billion as per the master plans.
The project is partly funded by the European Union, which – through COMESA -- provided a grant of two million euros to the trade ministry to commence the works.
The Busia and Katuna sites will have a warehouse and related facilities; at Oraba, the government will construct a commercial building and extend water and electricity; at Lwakhakha, a central market and related facilities will be erected. At Elegu, a Flood Mitigation Plan (FMP) is being developed.
The Busia and Malaba border points facilitate exportation, importation, and transit to and from Uganda and other East and Central African countries.
With 40% of Uganda’s exports going to Kenya through Busia. “We enjoy a cordial relation since time immemorial and are both members of the regional and international institutions such as the EAC (150 million people), COMESA (500 million people), Tripartite, the newly established ACFTA and the World Trade Organization. These blocks have provided the policy framework for trade growth including mechanisms for resolving nontariff barriers,” minister Kyambadde said.
“In recognition of the trade growth potential and strategic location of border points such as Busia, Oraba, Malaba, Lwakhakha, Katuna and Elegu, the NRM Manifesto underscored the need for the establishment of Border Export Zone Sites which were later prioritized in the National Development Plan II and the National Trade Policy 2008.”
The export zones will promote regional trade through increased and faster cross border flows of export goods and services, and promotion of value addition and strategic positioning of Uganda products to take advantage of the benefits of the EAC Customs Union, the COMESA FTA, Tripartite FTA and the African Continental FTA.
They will also lead to improved capacity of cross border trade through increased compliance to standards and other regional requirements.
“I would like to thank the leadership of Busia District Local Government, and all other Local Governments that have allocated land to my Ministry for the establishment of the Border Export Zone such as Elegu, Oraba, Katuna, Mpondwe, Bunagana and Lwakhakha,” said Kyambadde.
The minister noted that the procurement process has been finalized and contractors have been awaiting site hand-over to commence the construction works that are expected to last less than five months from today.
Uganda’s exports to Kenya through Busia and Malaba majorly comprise of agricultural produce (beans, maize, millet, sugar, fish, and banana and industrial products). These products are commonly exported in their raw form without any kind of value addition.
According to the trade minister, the Busia Border Export Zone is envisaged to have these outcomes:
- Increase in export earnings as a result of improved trade infrastructure and capacity building to the cross-border traders.
- Increase in value addition as a result of the demand for quality products and amenities to add value.
- Provision of employment Promotion of investment through Public-Private Partnerships at the export zone site.
- Reduction in wastage of produce during transportation, processing and drying Improvement in standards and quality through the use of improved infrastructure.
The minister implored the people of Busia to take advantage of the construction works through:
- Provision of both skilled and non-skilled labour at the site Supply or construction materials such as aggregates, sand, cement and welding services etc.
- Provision of food and other survival requirements.
- Ensuring quality works at the site by contractor.
The site will be developed by local firms, including BAM Construction and Surveyors Ltd Global Trust Consults Ltd.
“In line with the Government Public-Private Partnership approach, it is also my pleasure to inform you that, after designating these border export zones, a number of private developers have come on board and intend to establish infrastructures in line with the master plan that was prepared, notably, we have PELA Commodities intending to establish grain driers, a warehouse, silos, milling machines and other value addition equipment at Busia,” the minister said.