The Ugandan High Commission in Kenya has been requested by the budget committee of parliament to keep public buildings in good condition so they can generate enough income to cover the national budget.
MPs stated the diplomats should put in the necessary hours to guarantee that Uganda’s economic and commercial interests are protected during a meeting with High Commission officials in Nairobi, which was presided over by Head of Mission, Ambassador Hassan Galiwango.
Hon. Ignatius Wamakuyu, the vice chair of the committee, stated that although Parliament will help ensure the High Commission has enough funding, it is the diplomats’ responsibility to maintain good trade ties between Kenya and Uganda.
“We are looking at our foreign assets; if they are renovated, like that Uganda House, they would produce additional Non-Tax Revenue (NTR) to pay the budget. This is one method of financing our budget and lowering our reliance on debt, according to Wamakuyu.
Given Kenya’s importance to Uganda’s commerce and commercial diplomacy, Otuke County Member of Parliament, Hon. Paul Omara, stated that Parliament will assist the High Commission in maintaining properties there.
“One of our most important overseas missions is to Kenya. “Can we work on the regional peace and stability [to ensure easy trade]? Look at London, Pretoria, Ottawa, and Addis Abeba,” he remarked.
Dickson Kateshumbwa, a member of parliament for Sheema Municipality, implored the ambassadors to ensure justice in trade with Kenya, citing the country’s discontent with its predominantly poultry farmers.
“In terms of exports and imports, Kenya is our second-largest commercial partner after the United Arab Emirates. You [diplomats] have a substantial economic basis and window of opportunity. I want to push you to think about how we can expand our economy by utilizing the opportunities here while you are here,” he said.
We also need to tap into tourism since Kenyans have a well-developed domestic tourism business, he continued, adding that we need to increase exports to this country.
Amb. Galiwango claimed the mission would guarantee the protection of Uganda’s interests in Kenya but lamented the lack of funds. He expressed gratitude to the committee for helping with the renovation of the Uganda House in Nairobi, which he claimed will bring in over Sh40 billion yearly for the Consolidated Fund.
“The Uganda House was scheduled to undergo refurbishment in 2012; work has just started. Galiwango stated, “We applaud the Budget Committee for funding that renovation.
The Buikwe South MP Lulume Bayigga suggested that the High Commission establish a division to provide commercial advice to Ugandan businessmen.
Lulume Bayigga questioned, “Do you have a special department that can let Ugandans come and scan the environment in Kenya, assess what we have relatively in advantage?”
The committee was in Mombasa last week to evaluate the condition of government buildings maintained by the Uganda Property Holdings Limited as part of an oversight visit to Kenya.