Uganda’s Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa has asked the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) member states to remove all non-tariff barriers saying that they are a hindrance to the entry of goods, especially from developing countries.
Addressing the 146th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Manama, Bahrain, Tayebwa listed bottlenecks that are hampering the growth of some member states
“Sometimes your supermarket shelves are empty when we have fruits, vegetables and other agricultural products rotting in our countries,” he said.
Currently, the IPU comprises 178 member parliaments and 13 associate members.
Non-tariff barriers are restrictions that result from prohibitions, conditions, or specific market requirements that make the importation or exportation of products difficult and/or costly.
Tayebwa challenged the developed world to work with developing countries to add value to their products.
In the coffee industry with revenues of US$460 billion, he said coffee producing countries earn only U$25 billion with Africa earning US$2.5 billion while Uganda which is Africa’s largest coffee exporter earns only US$820 million annually.
“This hemorrhage of our resources has kept us in poverty and at the mercy of the western world giving us aid and loans. We need more partnerships and fair trade than loans and aid. As parliaments, we can and should ensure this stops,” he added.
Meanwhile, Tayebwa also held talks with IPU President Duarte Pacheco and stressed the need to put an end to all non-tariff barriers.
He said most of the conflicts especially in Africa are due to poverty surging levels.
“We are concerned as the developing world on unfair trade practices, especially from the developed world. Our products are kept moving as raw materials because when you try to process, you do not meet the stringent conditions set by the Europeans and the other western powers,” he said requesting the IPU President to join Africa in calling for fair trade practices.
Tayebwa added that Uganda plays a key role in the Great Lakes Region especially in overseeing peace and security.
“Uganda is among the countries which are working hard to pacify Somalia and Somalia is now standing on the soldiers of Uganda. We have done the same in South Sudan,” he said adding that, ‘Uganda wants to reassure of its commitment to playing its role as far as promoting peace in the Great Lakes Region and Africa is concerned’.Duarte Pacheco commended Tayebwa for the active participation of Uganda in the global parliament.
Pacheco asked Uganda to do all it can to calm the tensions in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The IPU President also said fair trade is on top of his agenda and said he will do all he can to achieve this before his term ends in October 2023.