KAMPALA – On Thursday, the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) attended a Pakistan Business Community workshop organized by the Pakistan High Commission in Uganda. The two had a fruitful interaction on not just tax matters but also on trade increment between the two countries.
The meeting intended to bring together the Pakistan business community in Uganda and URA to listen to the challenges they are going through and realize how better they can be supported.
Mr. John Musinguzi, URA boss noted that they have segmented a new approach of engaging with their stakeholders by meeting taxpayers per sector and the countries of origin so they can listen to and help them better.
“The potential between our two countries is much bigger than $42 million trade. So we are devising means, how better can we increase trade because the two countries have the capacity to mutually benefit from one another. Uganda grows tea which is not in Pakistan, we can export that tea to a population of 240 million – it will be an enormous market for Uganda.”
He added, “Pakistan has good technology for agriculture, pharmaceutical which they can export here in Uganda. So there is so much potential between the two countries which seems untapped and from the angle of facilitating trade as URA, we are here to listen. Is it the tax regimes, clearance processes, or incentives, what is it that can be done better to encourage trade between Pakistan and Uganda?”
He commended the business community for accepting to invest in Uganda, for the job opportunities created for the citizens, and for the tax contribution because “you would have chosen to put this capital in another country, not Uganda.”
H.E. Muhammad Hassan Wazir – Ambassador High Commissioner of Pakistan to the Republic of Uganda said that the two countries have very good bilateral relations not only on the political side, but also in terms of economy, trade, business, and most importantly, connectivity between the people.
“I’m also thankful to the government of Uganda for providing an opportunity that you (Pakistan Business Community) have opened up your businesses here and you do your business here without any fear without any scare. The environment that you have got is because of the peaceful environment that the government of Uganda is providing and the hospitality Ugandans have.”
However, the Ambassador thinks the two nations have not fully benefited from their long-time relations in terms of trade.
“Unfortunately, in terms of trade and commerce, our relations are not up to demand. According to the figures that I have, the total trade between our two countries from June 2022 to June 2023 is $42.5 million.”
According to him, his country exports to Uganda tractors, pharmaceutical items, and agricultural machinery, among others and imports from Uganda, tea, cotton, dried vegetables, waste of plastics, animal hides, and some other items.
“So looking at the bilateral trade, it is not commensurate with our good and friend relations. There is much more space for increasing the bilateral trade because Pakistan has 240 million people. So it is a huge market for any sort of items that are produced in Uganda.”
“For example, say cotton. Cotton is needed in Pakistan because our industries need cotton in order to produce different textile products.”
To have this working, the Ambassador said some blocks, say, regulatory framework and lack of recognition of manufacturing standards, must be improved.
“Absence of regulatory frameworks, absence of agreements, and then complex sanitary or phytosanitary standards. We need to be very cautious about the health of our communities, both sides because health is important.”