The business community in Uganda has been urged to invest heavily in the Upper Nile Region that cuts though three countries of Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
This call was made by Abraham Mamer Maliet, the South Sudanese Minister for Trade and Investment while speaking to press at the Moroccan Consulate in Kampala.
The minister believes exploiting all business opportunities will not only develop but return total peace to this region.
“If you look at the perspective that you create peace in order to invest, for me I think it the other way round,” he said.
“Invest to create jobs then peace comes. Ugandans doing investments in South Sudan have created jobs and those jobs are undertaken by South Sudanese who would have taken up arms to fight against government” Mamer says.
On the area’s market potential, Mamer says the cross border communities number about 20 million while the populations of the three countries added make 100 million.
However, for this idea to be achieved, investments largely centered in urban towns need to spread out to rural areas as well.
“What is happening in Northern Uganda is benefiting South Sudanese. If they are bringing investors to invest in Northern Uganda, our people will get jobs. Similarly, if you create an investment opportunity on the other side, the same will happen here”.
Meanwhile, Mamer dismissed reports that Ugandan traders in South Sudan are maltreated by authorities and natives. He says Ugandans are freely going about their errands unscathed.
However, he singled out a few incidents on the Juba- Bor road which he said were carried out by a handful of destitute youth. However, he promised that with heightened security measures, such inhumane acts are on a down ward trend.
O he says negotiations are ongoing between Juba and Kampala on the compensation of traders who lost merchandise when violence flared up between groups loyal to opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar Teny and President Salva Kiir Mayardit in 2016.
As a safe guard, he advocated for ratification of treaties that will specifically take charge of matters of this nature and issues of double taxation.
Commenting on South Sudan’s readiness, Mamer said works are on course to complete the 40 Megawatts Juba City Power project in coming months.
In the same vein, he intimated that a contract has been signed with Sahara Group from Nigeria to fill the power vacuum.
On the agricultural sector, he elaborated that exports to Juba in form of industrial machinery is shouldered from tax burdens as one way of promoting industrialization and food security.