The Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Amelia Anne Kyambadde, has launched the construction works of investment facilities at border export zones in Lwakhakha, Busia, Oraba and Katuna.
Addressing the media, Kyambadde stated that the Border Export Zones (BEZ) program is key in positioning Uganda’s export market into the region and driving the development goals of the country including import substitution and wealth creation.
“In the last three weeks of August 2020, I have launched the construction of investment venture facilities at Lwakhakha, a central market and related facilities, Busia, a ware house and related facilities, Oraba, a commercial building and extension of electricity and other related facilities and Katuna, a ware house and related facilities. These facilities will be ready for use by close of this year,” she revealed.
The relevancy of the project, Kyambadde said, has become even more paramount with the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“BEZ provides opportunities to continue trading regionally amidst COVID-19 measures. The storage and warehousing facilities to be established in the BEZ will facilitate and ease movement of goods across the borders,” she said.
The Minister noted that Government has also secured USD 2 million from the World Bank under the Great Lakes Trade Facilitation Project (GLTFP) for the development of Mpondwe BEZ (Kasese District) and preparation of feasibility studies for Bunagana BEZ (Kisoro District).
“The procurement process for the development of Mpondwe BEZ is ongoing and construction will commence in October 2020,” Kyambadde noted.
In 2010, Government adopted a Border Market Program (later renamed as the BEZ Program) to position the country strategically and help in harnessing regional market opportunities.
Kyambadde added thus, “BEZ will increase in export earnings as a result of improved trade infrastructure and capacity building to the cross border traders, increase in value addition as a result of the demand for quality products and amenities to add value.”
The BEZ will also facilitate among others; provision of employment, promotion of investment through Public Private Partnerships at the export zone site, improve post harvest handling and reduce wastage of produce during transportation, processing and drying, improve compliance to standards and marketing quality of products through the use of improved and organized infrastructure and reduce non-tariff barriers and promote formal trading.
Kyambadde called upon the communities at the borders to invest in the project and take advantage of the facilities that the government has constructed for them.
“I implore the business community to invest in the BEZ project and take advantage of the facilities Government is putting in place,” she concluded.