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Trade minister to make statement on city traders’ woes as talks progress

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Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi, the Leader of the Opposition, urged the Executive to meet with the traders to resolve the impasse

The woes of Kampala City traders may come to an end, if the current negotiations with government yield tangible solutions.

Hon. David Bahati, the Minister of State of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives (Industry), informed Parliament during plenary sitting on Tuesday, 16 April 2024 that should the Executive make a break through, a statement will be presented to Parliament during today, Wednesday, 17 April 2024 plenary sitting.

The traders, under their umbrella body, Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) commenced a strike which has seen several shops in down town Kampala closed since 08 April 2024. 

Among other challenges, the traders are protesting the enforcement of the Uganda Revenue Authority’s (URA) Electronic Fiscal Receipting and Invoicing Solution (EFRIS) system, saying that they were not sensitised and also lack the requisite infrastructure to use the system.

“The Trade Ministry and that of Finance are meeting traders currently and I request to make a statement tomorrow on progress. “We are working tirelessly because we do know how this affects the economy,” said Bahati. 

He was responding to Speaker Anita Among who in her communication, reiterated the urgency of resolving the concerns of the traders. 

“Last week, the House specifically deliberated upon the concerns regarding the electronic fiscal receipting and invoicing system for which the House recommended a constructive engagement between Uganda Revenue Authority and the traders,” she said.

Among added: “In the same vein, we reiterate our earlier recommendation for dialogue to amicably resolve any of the sticky issues that are being raised because it has gone beyond the electronic invoicing.”

She noted that the traders are further frustrated because majority are not aware of the taxes they are paying. 

“There is a lot of uncertainty on how much taxes the traders are paying, people need to know how much they are paying,” she said. 

The Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi, underscored the need for government to expeditiously resolve the issue. 

“There is an emergency issue, the Executive should talk to the traders because the strike has a huge impact,” Ssenyonyi said. 

Kalungu West County Member of Parliament, Hon. Joseph Ssewungu proposed halting of the EFRIS in the interim, as a long lasting solution is being sought. 

“Halt the system and train the traders so that we can have sanity,” said Ssewungu. 

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