Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It is sad the developments regarding Uganda Businessmen in Southern Sudan

On a Tuesday April 20, 2010 night talk show programme from 8.00pm to 9.00pm Radio Kaboozi; businessmen who ventured to trade in Southern Sudan gave an account of losses made and that the law did not seem to help them either. One businessman said (if I heard him right) that about 600 Ugandans could be languishing in Southern Sudan jails; and he was not aware of Government efforts to bail these Ugandans. One businessman said that he supplied to a Minister in Southern Sudan, among other things 1,060 bags of cement which in money terms is shs 25,440,000 but efforts to follow up payment almost cost his life. The businessmen further propose that given that Sudanese are very uncooperative; Government should not build the proposed market in Juba, instead, it should be at the border.

The businessmen claim that many have lost money in Southern Sudan to the extent that a number of bank defaulters are the one’s there and those who got goods from business men and have defaulted; otherwise, it is a very hostile environment.

It is unfortunate to learn that Sudanese have abused the hospitality Uganda has given to them over the years. It is not clear what Uganda government is doing over the Southern Sudan matters, for it looks like plans are continuing on yet Ugandans are hated and cheated there.

William Kituuka

In southern Sudan, for the money
Fri, 09 Apr 12:41 PM IST

By Ed Cropley

JUBA, Sudan (Reuters) - The only thing that's cheap in southern Sudan is life.

One of the world's poorest regions, where four out of five people are illiterate and one in five children fails to make it to their fifth birthday, the south's economy has been turned on its head since the end of a 22-year civil war in 2005.

A flood of foreign aid workers and more than $2 billion a year in oil revenues under a peace deal with the central government in Khartoum has transformed the south into one of the most expensive corners of Africa.

As homeless children sift through piles of garbage lining the streets of the south's scruffy capital, Juba, a single supermarket caters to the tastes of its new elite, most of them former guerrillas from the Sudan People's Liberation Army.

With everything trucked in from neighbouring Kenya on shattering dirt roads, or floated down the Nile from Uganda, these tastes come at a price. Southern Sudan, a region the size of Texas, has just 50 km of paved roads.

A box of Kelloggs Rice Krispies costs 24 Sudanese pounds ($9.20). A litre bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label is nearly $300.

Nobody knows how many people live in the city, although some say its population has trebled in the last five years under the weight of tens of thousands Kenyans and Ugandans out to make a quick buck.

"Earning $100 is difficult in Kenya. Here it's easy," said Amos Njay, a Nairobi taxi driver hoping a year in Juba will set him up in a trucking business.

Africans are not the only ones with an eye on the cash.

Foreign aid workers, holed up behind barbed-wire fences and armed guards in semi-permanent tented camps on the banks of the Nile, boast of earning $10,000 a month tax-free and with all their living expenses taken care of.

"You know what they say: in places like this you only get missionaries, mercenaries and misfits. Me? Sure, I'm just here for the money," said one U.S. aid contractor knocking back a cold beer in a bar on the banks of the Nile.

Other drinkers ranged from dapper pro-democracy activists from the U.S. International Republican Institute to former soldiers whose lives are spent treading in the heels of conflict across the globe, cleaning up mines and unexploded bombs.

Even for the most battle-hardened, the legacy of a conflict that claimed 2 million lives can be depressing.

"I don't drink the local beer. It's just not strong enough. It doesn't have the effect," said one veteran of de-mining operations in Laos and Afghanistan, quaffing a bottle of imported Kenyan lager. Source:

Uganda: Government to build trade centre in Juba
Mail&Guardian (South Africa), by Esther Nakkazi / Monday, 15 January 2007
Uganda’s trade with Southern Sudan is expected to double this year when the country opens a trade centre in Juba. The Uganda trade centre will promote Ugandan exports in the Sudanese market and spur investment. The move comes as informal business between the two countries is experiencing boom but with however no proper channels or site to operate from.
Uganda’s ambassador to Sudan, Mull S. Katende said, “The Sudan market is new and it means a lot to us. That is why we have to find ways of formalising and sustaining the growing trade. The trade centre will build consumers’ confidence in our products, increase volumes and promote product consistency.” Uganda officials based in Sudan say they have already acquired over 20 hectares of land in Juba and a prominent Ugandan businessman has been contracted to construct the centre, which will then be let out to business people.

The trade centre will have show- rooms, shops, promotional centres and warehouses. All Ugandan exports to Sudan will be found at the centre. We have already signed a co-operation agreement with Sudan and hope the trade centre will help organise trade between the two countries and double the volumes,” said Mr Katende. Currently, some 100 trucks — 60 through Oraba and 40 through Nimule — travel to Southern Sudan daily carrying foodstuffs, construction materials, groceries and beverages from Uganda and Kenya

Officials at the Uganda embassy in Khartoum said over 5,000 Ugandans are employed in southern Sudan as taxi drivers, electricians, teachers, social workers, builders and artisans. Mr Katende said the value of the trade between the two countries is yet to be ascertained as the trade is not yet formal and there is no documentation being done. However, he said, Customs checks at the border points will soon be strengthened to collate correct figures for the volume of trade.

Uganda is also in the final stages of joining the Free Trade Area of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa). Under the Comesa-FTA, 14 Comesa member states have removed Customs tariffs, quotas and other restrictions to the free flow of trade. Kenya, a member of the Comesa-FTA, gets duty-free access to the Sudan market for goods that qualify under the Comesa Rules of Origin, while Uganda does not. Southern Sudan is now setting up formal trade. “However, with the institutions developed, Uganda stands to lose out to Kenya because the latter’s goods come to Sudan at zero rates,” said Mr Katende.

Uganda’s exports to Sudan include coffee, tea, fish, beverages, human resource and agricultural produce, while Kenya’s basic export to Sudan is tea. Uganda’s entry into the Comesa-FTA will be expected to increase its exports to Sudan by 100 per cent because they will be zero-rated like Kenya’s goods. Both Kenya and Uganda have opened consulates in Juba. Uganda and Sudan revived their trade relations last year and signed a joint trade agreement. Previously relations between the two countries had deteriorated with accusations that each was supporting rebels in the other’s country.

All 20 Comesa member states were expected to have ratified the FTA by 2005; however, Uganda has delayed doing so, raising concerns among manufacturers and traders. Uganda’s exports to Comesa are charged 80 per cent tariff reduction because it is not a member of the FTA.

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