Fish maw trade: MPs complain of discrimination in license acquisition

Parliament has tasked agriculture minister Frank Tumwebaze with explaining the allegations of discrimination in acquiring licenses for fish maw trade in Uganda.

This was after Bbale County MP Charles Tebandeke claimed that the ministry was discriminating against Ugandans in the issuance of licenses and preferring foreign dealers, contrary to the constitution.

He told the House chaired by Speaker Anita Among that Ugandans have applied for the trading licenses but have been disadvantaged in favour of the foreign traders.

The licenses are issued every after three months. The Fish Act prohibits fishing without licenses.

“It is surprising that the ministry has not accorded respect and has not given any guideline on how to protect Ugandans dealing in fish maw, at the expense of protecting Indians and Chinese, which is a sign of monopoly an oligopoly,” said Tebandeke.

“I pray that the ministry, in conjunction with the Ministry of Trade, explains circumstances under which the department responsible for issuance of licenses shall protect the local dealers in such a lucrative business without discrimination,” he added.

Minister Tumwebaze was not present in the House at the time, but the general duties minister Justine Kasule Lumumba promised to forward the concerns to him.

“The concerns raised affect more than half of Uganda’s business community and livelihoods. I request Parliament to allow the minister time to present a comprehensive report on the matter,” she said.

Speaker Among asked legislators representing fishing communities to present similar concerns to the minister, so that responses can be catered for in the report to the House.

Information from the fisheries department indicates that Uganda ranks among the top sources of fish maw in Africa.

Following the passing of the Fish (Amendment) Bill, 2021, Parliament imposed an 8% levy on every kilogramme of exported fish maw.

Most of it is exported to China.

Source: New Vision

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