Uganda says Rwanda imposing trade embargo
Uganda has accused Rwanda of imposing a trade embargo against bilateral trade after Kigali introduced a new export permit system for goods destined for the Uganda market. At the same time Rwandan authorities have introduced spurious charges on Ugandan exports to Rwanda, effectively bringing bilateral trade to a halt.
In an update on the simmering tensions between the neighbours that have entered the third week, Mr. Sam Kuteesa, Uganda’s minister for foreign affairs said goods from Rwanda and Rwanda registered trucks were not being allowed to cross into Uganda.
“What is happening on the ground is that export of Uganda gods to Rwanda has been prohibited by Rwanda authorities. The same authorities are only allowing crossing into Rwanda of those trucks carrying transit goods destined for Rwanda or transiting through Rwanda to the Democratic Republic of Congo and other places,” Mr. Kuteesa’s statement partly says.
Kuteesa also said that Rwanda had introduced a new export permit system for goods originating in Rwanda for the Ugandan market.
“This is a technical and non-tariff barrier to trade to which there has been no successful applicant. In effect, this is a trade embargo on bilateral trade with Uganda,” he said.
He added that Uganda has kept its borders open to both people and commerce despite the restrictions introduced by Rwanda in conformity to its commitments under regional and continental frameworks guaranteeing the free movement of people.
According to number he released, 437 transactions had been processed through the three entry points between Uganda and Rwanda at Cyanika, Katuna and Mirama Hills since February 28. Mirama Hills accounts for the bulk of these at 311.
Customs officials at Mirama Hills say Ugandan exporters have been forced to halt deliveries to Rwanda after trucks that were allowed in were slapped with new levies ranging between $5000 and $10,000 per truckload.
Relations between the former allies hit a new low on February 28, after Rwanda imposed a unilateral blockade on trade with Uganda. It accuses Uganda of not responding to its concerns about anti-Rwanda dissidents it says are based in Uganda and enjoy logistical support from authorities.