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Trade minister quizzed about safety of fish traders languishing in Uganda prison

Author: Elshiekh Chol Ajeing | Published: Thursday, June 13, 2024

William Anyuon Kuol, Minister of Trade and Industry. (PPU).

A lawmaker has questioned the Minister of Trade about the safety of the south Sudanese fish traders who have been jailed in Uganda for allegedly transiting to DR Congo with trucks not licensed by the country’s Fishery Protection Unit.

Honourable Peter Lomody raised the concerns at a parliamentary sitting, where the August House was questioning the economic cluster minister over the looming hunger in the country.

The three South Sudanese nationals exporting fish to DRC were sentenced to three months in jail in Uganda last month for allegedly violating exports procedures while transiting to DR Congo.

The convicts were also fined 7,000 US dollars for breaching enforced license regulations which restricts the traders to only use designated Ugandan truck to transport their fish to Congo.

During yesterday’s sitting, Hon. Peter Lomody, asked the trade minister about safety procedures that has been taken to address the matter.

Lomody said it is the responsibility of the minister to organize South Sudan fish export to the region.

“We have South Sudanese exporters who are being detained in Uganda and it is important for this House to know from the Ministry of Trade and Industry to ask to what are the step they have taken in order to address the problem,” he said.

“When you talk about the balance of payment, it is also good that South Sudan is exporting fish from Bor to Uganda and it is the responsibility of the minister of trade and industry, or his ministry to organize these people to be able to compete with our counterpart in East Africa Countries.”

In response, Trade Minister William Anyuon says his office and the South Sudan Bureau of Standards were not notified by the traders when they headed to Uganda.

Anyuon said the national traders preferred not to produce license from the ministry to avoid such cases, and instead, smuggle their goods without trademarks.

“They don’t come to the ministry to get that license. They just go and get their goods with trademarks without proper packaging, then they take it outside by smuggling,” he said.

“When they go outside, they get captured by those countries and that is what happened. This is because we have not officially summoned those traders that were having problem in Uganda.”

“They have not come to the ministry to get license, but they just went out smuggling our fish and they got that problem and we did not get official report we got it through media.”

Mr. Anyuon, however, stated that he was informed that the Chamber of Commerce is addressing the matter.


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