By Spy Uganda
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives has asked the Committee on East African Community Affairs (EAC) to support its efforts in mobilizing Shs10 billion for trade expos for the Financial Year 2022/2023.
State minister for Trade, Hon David Bahati, on Thursday, 17 February 2022 appeared before the committee to answer questions raised on the level of preparedness to facilitate Uganda’s hosting of the East African Community 22nd Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Trade Fair in December.
The EAC Confederation of Micro and Small Enterprises Organisation previously known as JUAKALI/KAZI NGUVU exhibitions was inaugurated by the EAC Heads of State in 1999 as a form of a people-centered and market-driven corporation.
Now although the trade expo has been held on a rotational basis in the EAC member states, Uganda has resolved to hold this year’s event in either Gulu, Mbale or Mbarara district.
Uganda has hosted the event thrice.
Speaking to the MPs regarding resource mobilisation, Bahati said that the ministry has submitted unfunded priorities amounting to Shs10 billion which includes the funding of trade exhibitions and expos for the Financial Year 2022/2023.
“We hope the funds will be available from which the trade fair will be facilitated. The ministry will take the lead in resource mobilisation for this event with some of the funding covered under the medium-term expenditure framework and the rest from the private sector and other stakeholders,” Bahati said.
However, members of the committee tasked the ministry with the relevance of the trade fair.
Hon Moses Ogwal, the Member of Parliament for Dokolo North County said that it is not the first time the country is hosting the trade expo and fair, tasking the ministry to give the achievements over time.
“What have we achieved as a result of these trade fairs and in particular, driving us away from poverty,” Ogwal questioned.
Minister Bahati pledged to provide the response in writing.
Hon Gilbert Olanya, the Kilak South MP also demanded to know which items Ugandan traders will be displaying and accountability measures to ensure that money is not wasted.
Regrettably, he said Uganda’s display at the 2020 Dubai Expo was an embarrassment to the country.
The chairperson of the committee, Hon Noeline Kisembo, questioned why the trade ministry is not engaging the exhibitors, saying government can set up the fair, but the lack of adequate exhibitors could compromise standards of the exhibition.
Dr Joshua Mutambi the Commissioner for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises at the ministry says that they are engaging the exhibitors and innovators based in the three districts to prepare for the exhibition.