Government wants more public-private partnerships in logistics

In Summary

September 18, 2018—Works and transport minister, Monica Azuba Ntege, has said the government is going to […]

September 18, 2018—Works and transport minister, Monica Azuba Ntege, has said the government is going to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the transport and logistics sector to open up more areas for public and private partnerships (PPP).

Azuba (centre) takes a photo opportunity with top officials including (right) Patrick Bitature  the PSFU chairman on Monday. 

Azuba said the government is already reviewing the National Transport Development Strategy to include the logistics sector so that it can be helped to develop and improve due to its crucial place for economic development. She was speaking on Monday at the official opening of the two-day Global Logistics Convention 2018 that is taking place in Kampala.

She highlighted the importance of infrastructure to improve transportation of goods and services while also facilitating trade. “We have increased the number of kilometres of constructed roads from 1000 kilometres to 4500 km in the last 10 years. We have plans to construct the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), major works to improve Entebbe International airport are underway and the government is in the last stages of reviving the National Airline. These will all facilitate the transport and logistics sector and help in improving the countries competitiveness,” she said.

The Minister said Uganda has improved its global ranking in trade facilitation from 83nd to 58th position facilitated by the new online  trade facilitation platforms of Uganda Revenue Authority that enabled traders to process trade documents and clear goods in less than two hours. However, she said there is more work needed to be done to improve competitiveness on the global market.

The Global Logistics Convention is organized by Uganda Freight Association (UFFA) under the Forwards Federation of East Africa Freight Forwards Association (FEAFFA) in partnership with the Ministry of Works and Transport, the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) and funded by the UKAid through TradeMark East Africa (TMEA).

Under the theme ‘Freight Logistics: The edge to competitiveness’, the conference is aimed at bringing together the private and public players, funders and the policy makers from around East Africa to share ideas, challenges and chart a way forward on how they can improve the sector and use it to improve the trading environment in the region.

PSFU executive director, Gideon Badagawa said the Transport and Logistic Platform will give a chance for the private sector to  partner with the government in policy formulation and sector facilitation to help it grow and become a major player in shaping economic growth.

“The government is going to review the transport and roads policy and the private sector through the Logistics Platform have been invited to deliberate on policies that should be included to support the private sector to improve the sector. By working together with Government, the logistics sector will definitely improve a lot,” Badagawa said.

Hussein Kiddedde, Chairman UFFA said logistics is a key driver to productivity and economic growth and the integration of Africa hence the need for the governments and private sector to find ways of improving it.”There is need to create a conducive environment by putting in place supporting regulations, emphasis on professionalism and use of technology to improve the sector at large,” Kibbedde said.

During the first day, Adrian Green, Head of Growth and Economic Management at UKAid, said they have been at the forefront of supporting trade facilitation in the East African Community through TMEA. “Sustainable development is directly linked to how the logistics sector facilitates trade. Perhaps for a long time, development partners have overlooked this and focused on rural development and ignored that we need to focus as well in logistics and transportation,” Green said.

He said,”As development partners we recognize the critical importance of this sector and would like to help address the key challenges facing this sector.”

According to Allan Ngugi, in-charge of Capacity Building for the logistics industry at TMEA, the organisation with financial help from DfID will roll out a program to improve skills for SMEs, improve capacity of bonded warehouses and training regional customs and freight forwarders drivers.

“This is aimed at improving their efficiency and professionalism in the logistics sector. We are working with UFFA and the National Logistics Platform to make sure that we offer the technical assistance to help the sector move forward,” Ngugi said.

The Commissioner of Customs at Uganda Revenue Authority, Dickson Kateshumbwa asked the private sector in logistics to be conscious of simple factors that are limiting growth. “Customers need their goods to move in the shortest time possible. We have put in place measures to eliminate any delays in clearing and movement of goods. However your unprofessional drivers who keep stopping at each trading centres are the biggest problem. It is very important to encourage professionalism in the sector and improve customer service so that the sector can grow,” he said.

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