Uganda prepares policy on foreigners in petty trade
April 28—Kampala’s restless retailers will have to wait a bit longer for the government policy on foreigners carrying out petty trade after it was announced a Cabinet a Sub-committee has been looking into the matter and is ready with a report. The spotlight has mainly been on the Chinese.
After the recent protests that took place in downtown Kampala, trade and industry minister, Amelia Kyambadde issued a much awaited statement which also addressed other issues close to the traders’ heart.
“Government is equally concerned with the influx of foreigners in petty trade and a number of interventions have been made to address the matter. My Ministry presented the issue before Cabinet after realizing that there is no law that prevents foreigners from engaging in petty trade,” she said.
Kyambadde said, “Cabinet constituted a Subcommittee to study this matter and come up with a national policy objective to guide trade by non-citizens. The subcommittee has finalized its report that will be presented to cabinet.”
For several months now, business has not been particularly good for many traders in Kampala which has caused rising resentment against competing foreigners.
There is also a clash of business culture. While the Chinese prefer to make money on the basis of high turnover by selling cheap, their Ugandan counterparts rely on high mark-ups on each item. Ugandans say this situation is unfair to them since the Chinese have more capital and stock in bulk which they cannot afford to do themselves. To add insult to injury, the Chinese deal in most popular goods, like plastic footwear and textiles.