The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries is expected to present a comprehensive report to Parliament regarding the progress of business in the fisheries sector.
This follows concerns raised by Hon. Charles Tebandeke (NUP, Bbale County) on discrimination in issuance of licences to fish maw traders in Uganda.
Rising on a matter of national importance on Thursday, 14 April 2022, Tebandeke observed that issuance of these licences has often been limited to foreign traders, leaving out local traders.
He said Ugandans have applied for the trading licenses but have been disadvantaged in favour of the foreign traders.
The issuance of the trading licenses runs between January and 31 March of a running calendar year.
Rule 12 of the Fish Act, 2010 prohibits nay fishing activates from being done without licenses, and Rule 13 of the Act calls for stakeholders to apply for the licenses.
Tebandeke noted that the discriminatory issuance of the licences contradicts Article 21(1) of the Constitution and the National Objective 14(d), where “all Ugandans must be treated equally irrespective of sex, colour and gender”.
“It is surprising that the ministry has not accorded respect and has not given any guideline on how to protect Ugandans dealing in fish maw, at the expense of protecting Indians and Chinese which is a sign of monopoly an oligopoly,” Tebandeke said.
He tasked the agriculture ministry to explain to the House why it is effecting discriminatory issuance of licences to only foreign dealers against Ugandan dealers.
“I pray that the ministry in conjunction with the Ministry of Trade explains circumstances under which the department responsible for issuance of licenses shall protect the local dealers in such a lucrative business without discrimination,” he added.
The Minister for General Duties in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Justine Kasule Lumumba, acknowledged that the concerns raised affect more than half of Uganda’s business community and livelihoods, and asked Parliament to grant the fisheries state minister time to present a comprehensive report on the matter.
Speaker Anita Among asked Members of Parliament representing fishing communities to present similar concerns to the minister, so that responses can be catered for in the report to the House.