Kasese. Uganda and DR Congo officials are in talks aimed at suspending costs levied on small-scale traders who import goods with value less than $2,000 (about Shs7 million) through Mpondwe Lhubiriha and other border posts.
However, if they agree, the charges will only be suspended on goods listed under the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) Simplified Trade Regime (STR) list of eligible goods.
The move was discussed during a two- day bilateral meeting between government officials and the business community from both countries last Friday in Kasese Town. The principal commercial officer under external trade department in ministry of Trade, Mr Steven Kamukama, said eligible goods must only be those produced from Uganda and the DR Congo.
“As a ministry, we are working closely with Comesa members to ensure that small-scale traders transact their businesses at the border freely with emphasis on goods produced from Uganda and DRC only,” said Mr Kamukama.
The commissioner in charge of external trade in ministry of Trade, Mr Silver Ojakol, said a list of about 100 goods were verified for duty free importation from Uganda to DR Congo and vice versa.
“The only step into this is for our counterparts in DR Congo to get back to their country and scrutinise more goods that should be eligible for duty-free importation in the agreed two months before entering the Memorandum of Understanding with them,” said Mr Ojakol.
DR Congo director of external trade Sedex Ilunga said they need to first consult on the listed goods before the signing of MoU.
Some of the eligible goods to be imported tax free by small scale traders include cement, lipstick, perfumes, toilet papers, iodized salt, beans, tomatoes, mattresses, plastic materials, onions, beauty soaps, paints and meat.