Amelia Kyambadde, Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives has revealed that the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) has already allocated funds amounting to 5 million Euros (Shs17bn) for the construction of border markets.
Amelia noted that the money is just awaiting approval from the COMESA Council of Ministers for the construction to begin.
This was during the Trade Ministry interface with Legislators sitting on the Parliamentary Committee on Tourism, Trade and Industries.
Members of Parliament on the Committee tasked the Minister to clarify on whether the funds were already paid to the Ministry and also to mention the boarder markets in which the Funds are to be invested.
Minister Kyambadde noted that the Ministry of Trade will embark on the construction of the border markets starting with the Bibia border market which borders Sudan and Uganda immediately after COMESA Council approves the funds.
She confirmed that the Trade Ministry has a draft financing agreement awaiting appending of signatures by the Government of Uganda, the European Union and COMESA Secretariat.
Kyambadde also noted that the Ministry had initiated several projects to empower communities to start-up businesses. The Ministry started a project called “One Village, One product” which has been empowered by machinery or equipment to enable communities’ process their products.
She named Kamwenge and Bushenyi districts as being encouraged to take up bee keeping. She said that Serere has a maize mill, maize huller and processor. Bukomansimbi and Kalungu have a huller.
She added that Mpigi district is being allocated a huller and that Kitgum were allocated a bee processor.
She noted that these districts have so far been worked on by the Ministry but that they are still rolling out the program to other parts of the country.
She noted that the project was recently under JIICA but government moved in to push it forward.
The chairperson of the Committee Flavia Kabahenda questioned whether the communities are aware and in whose control the projects are.
Minister Amelia said that the projects are managed by the community. The district commercial officers identify those to manage. Kabahenda urged the need to involve the political leaders now saying that they know better the active groups.
Kyambadde explained that they have been involving the district leaders more but that they are yet to change to Members of Parliament.
She added the Ministry realized that without political leadership, supervision and awareness is very low.