The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has directed the Minister of Trade Amelia Kyambadde to appear in parliament on Wednesday to guide the nation on the tax levies that have prompted traders to go on a sit down strike.
Business in Kampala City came to a halt on Tuesday as traders under their association Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) started a strike protesting high taxes.
Kadaga noted that the nation needs to clearly hear all perspectives on the matter since some speak for it and others are against it and that guidance should be provided by the Minister.
The issue of city traders was raised as a matter of national importance by MP Katoto Atwibu who said that the traders are people who greatly support the economy and they are being taxed heavily but government has not attended to their concern.
He noted that the traders resorted to a sit down strike in order to be heard saying that without government’s intervention through dialogue, the shops will continue to be closed which will be so costly to the country’s economy.
Katoto tasked that trade minister to suspend the import SGS since it is the source of the traders discontent.
MP Muwanga Kivumbi said that in 2001, 2002 and 2003 the SGS Company was used as a company for shipment and goods inspection but discovered that it was cost to traders business.
He added that it is on record that parliament then resolved and banned this company. Kivumbi said that the country is a signatory to general agony tariffs saying that SGS is a tariff barrier to traders.
He said that it is incumbent upon parliament to pronounce its self and help the traders who promote the country’s economy.
Makindye East MP John Ssimbwa said that the issue with the traders is not only with SGS but it is with the introduction of a pre-export verification conformity (PVOC) a pre-inspection shipment verification exercise.
He said that the traders are not necessarily against the exercise per say but the cost, saying that in other East African Countries where the exercise is applied the nature of costing differs noting that in Uganda the exercise is costly and incomparable.
Ssimbwa requested the minister of trade to reconsider and suspend the exercise as negotiations go on with the traders, the companies involved and other stakeholders so that fair business is achieved.
Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi said that they have discussed the issue of traders in cabinet and that when they were adopting the PVOC exercise they had good reasons for it and that it is a policy not only applied in Uganda but also other countries.