Uganda not bothered about dismissal from AGOA, says Minister Bahati

Uganda not bothered about dismissal from AGOA, says Minister Bahati
Minister David Bahati

The State Minister for Industry, David Bahati has said Uganda is not scared after being dismissed from African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

This week, the US announced that it had decided to terminate the designations of Uganda, alongside other three African countries as beneficiaries of AGOA trade deal, citing failure to meet the necessary requirements.

Addressing journalists on Wednesday at Parliament, Bahati said that AGOA is the market that Uganda would have loved to supply, but that if it comes to making a choice between allowing homosexuality in the country and going with the American market, then the country chooses the former.

He further observed that Uganda will not lose sleep over dismissal from the American market because the country has alternative markets.

“That is our choice and that is a choice that we stand with and we aren’t scared about this because we know that we have alternative markets and what we need to do now is to continue improving the standards of our goods so that we can supply the markets in Europe, Asia and the African market alone, is enough to consume what we are producing now," Minister Bahati said.

Bahati further argued that Uganda will not sacrifice its culture and values on the altar of homosexuality.

“We took it (decision on Anti-Homosexuality Act) soberly, consciously, well knowing that those who oppose us would blackmail us and want us to take some decisions that affect us both economically and even politically.” Bahati said.

He added, “So we still stand and we shall forever stand for the decision we made against homosexuality in this country and whatever comes, we are ready to find alternative to mitigate the effects of that decision,” said Bahati.”

Bahati noted that despite the dismissal from AGOA, the Ugandan Government will continue to build its capacity for imports substitution and hope that at one time, the US will realize that the decision that they have taken is a wrong one.

“We will continue to defend the human rights because the NRM Government is a chief defender of human rights even on the continent, we still have that good record and where there have been abuses of human rights, those abuses are punishable according to the law." he said.

According to the statement by the US President Joe Biden, effective January 1, 2024, Uganda will no longer be a beneficiary of AGOA.

“Accordingly, I have decided to terminate the designations of the Central African Republic, Gabon, Niger, and Uganda as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries for purposes of section 506A of the Trade Act, effective January 1, 2024,” read the statement by the US President.

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