By Namugerwa Martha
Days after Ugandans business people operating in Kampala city demanded that the government should ban foreigners from running retail businesses, the deputy Chief of Mission at the Chinese Embassy, Mr Chu Maoming, has dismissed the allegations.
Maoming said this at the launch of the Seeds for the future programme at Makerere University shortly after visiting several stalls that are run by the Chinese business people in Kampala on Monday.
“the observation made by the ministry of Trade that Uganda has no law that bans foreign investors from engaging in retail trade and also that Chinese don’t pay taxes is wrong,” Maoming said.
Maoming further added that the Chinese business people pay taxes to the Ugandan government; Maybe they pay different types of taxes from those of the Ugandan business people because this is government policy.
“You (Chinese business people) should do business according to Ugandan laws and you (Ugandans) should treat Chinese people in a rational way in order to compete on a fair and equal basis,” Maoming added.
However local business people blame foreigners involved in retail trade of exposing them to unfair competition because most of them have access to low interest business loans in their home countries.
The executive director of Private Sector Foundation Uganda Gideon Badagawa also commented to this fight between Ugandan traders and foreigners saying that this is a wakeup call for government to strengthen laws that govern trade and investment.
“Because there are loopholes in the regulations, any foreigner can take advantage of the market. The Chinese will say you have opened up so allow us to compete and they are right in a way but I know when you go to China, you do not simply establish a business because they have strict regulations,” Badagawa said
He further asked the government to enforce procedures and laws on immigration, investment licensing and trade to ensure genuine foreign businesspeople meet the investment threshold and carry out trade as per foreign investment.