On March 15, Uganda's Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of East African Affairs led her staff, public officials from other ministries, private sector and the Hub in updating Uganda's progress in implementing the EAC Common Market Protocol. Government ministries and regulators provided updates on the stage of reforms that they have achieved in relation to key commitments to the free movement of capital, services and goods. Of note is that the Investment Code Bill 2017 -- prepared with Hub input -- has now been endorsed by Uganda's cabinet and presented to parliament for adoption. The code removes several measures that constrain access to Uganda's markets for investment and improves its compliance to the movement of capital. You can view the Hub's complete presentation here.
The Hub holds regular country updates to appraise the private and public sector on the progress the EAC Partner States are making toward full implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol. The Hub’s supports these sessions to strengthen Uganda’s legal and regulatory environment for expanded trade and investment. The protocol creates a framework for economic integration among Partner States where there is free movement of goods, labor, services and capital.
In partnership with leading advocates of the High Court from all the East African Community Partner States, the Hub has collected and analyzed bills and Acts of Parliament, drafts and existing regulations and administrative notices from Uganda and the other EAC Partner States over the last three months, and has prepared presentations highlighting these efforts. The presentations assess progress towards implementing key trade and investment-facilitating commitments in respect to the EAC CMP.
Below are some of the key highlights from the Uganda meeting.
Movement of Capital
- Ugandan investors blocked from $213m Vodacom IPO, a violation of Tanzania’s Forex (Listed Securities) (Amendment) Regulations of May 2014.
- Energy sector sees further tightening of market access across EAC, Ugandan measures included.
- Investment Code Bill 2017 and Uganda’s Insurance Bill 2016 impact the protocol, positively and negatively.
- Uganda still records high compliance – at least 18 of 20 Movement of Capital transactions are restrictions-free.
Movement of Services
- Uganda’s last reform was The Trade Licensing (Amendment) Act Cap. 101 assented to Nov. 2015, removing restriction on foreign wholesalers and retailers from establishing outside Kampala.
- Uganda’s local authorities imposing even more trade-restricting fees and licenses.
- Kenya’s High Court emerges as unlikely reform champion with 2 pro-common market rulings that favor Uganda.
Movement of Goods
- 3 Non-Tarrif Barriers (NTBs), previously reported against Uganda, were reported removed. They were; 1) unclear changes of export and import procedures, 2) failure to honor COMESA yellow card insurance on trucks when accidents occur and 3) exports to DRC subjected to multiple verifications.
- Uganda has withdrawn its complaint against Kenyan-imposed fines on lorries.
- Uganda raises fresh complaint on Tanzania’s requirements on re-labeling and retesting of already certified products. Note: The complaints are distilled to include only those of a legal or regulatory nature