The Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) has condemned difficulties in accessing East African markets attributed to non tariff barriers by East Africa Community member states.
The manufacturers have appealed to government to make the necessary bilateral steps to lift the barrier in a bid to expand the market.
The call was made during the launch of the 11th Easter Regional Trade Fair at Mbale Municipal stadium.
UMA chairperson Barbara K. Mulwana revealed that Ugandan commodities still have a hard time penetrating neighbouring countries attributing it to non tariff barriers.
The manufacturers want government to support them penetrate non EAC member states like Congo and Sudan which have also become hard to penetrate due to war and other barriers.
The UMA chair said many businesses had made losses due to the closure of the Rwanda-Uganda border. She urged government to find a way forward so business can resume.
Mulwana was speaking to the 2nd deputy Prime Minister and minister for East African Affairs Ali Kirunda Kivejinja who officially launched the trade fair.
In his response, Kivejinja pledged government’s commitment to cement EAC bilateral relations. This includes establishment of unitary government which he says is now under way.
Kivejinja, however, urged manufacturers in the meantime to find ways of working around the trade difficulties in the region as the government works on long term interventions.
This year’s Eastern regional trade fair has attracted over 140 exhibitors who have already pitched camp at Mbale municipal stadium to showcase their commodities.