On Tuesday 14th May 2019, Rt. Hon. Speaker Rebecca Kadaga held a press conference at Parliament on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) two-day sensitization workshop and exhibition which intends to create awareness on AGOA to both the public and Members of Parliament. The Speaker informed the press that the workshop and exhibition were to take place on 14th and 15th May 2019 under the theme: “Readiness to meet the needs of a USA consumer.”
The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a piece of legislation that was approved by the U.S Congress in May 2000. The object of this legislation is to assist the economies of Sub-Saharan Africa to boost economic relations between the States and region. This Act grants duty-free access for eligible products to the largest single market on the globe. The Act further provides beneficiary countries with a notable competitive advantage over Non- AGOA countries that are entitled to paying normal tariff rates to infiltrate the United States.
On Tuesday 14th May 2019, Rt. Hon. Kadaga who was the Chief Guest of the event officially launched the workshop and exhibition at the Parliament Conference Hall. Addressing the audience, she narrated the background of the event informing them that years ago, Parliament learned of the expiry of AGOA and Uganda had not benefitted from it due to inadequate sensitization. She researched on the exportable products in Uganda and realized that there was plenty to the county’s disposal including art and local craft products such, coffee, matooke products, and many others.
Kadaga had then traveled in the accompaniment of some Members of Parliament to Washington for the U.S and successfully lobbied office by office for the extension of the operation of the AGOA legislation. On returning to Uganda, she learned that AGOA had no office in the country thus resolving to organize a sensitization workshop and exhibition to create awareness of the legislation to Members of Parliament and the general public. She urged Ugandans to utilize the benefits of the Act extensively to their development.
The Speaker commended Hon Amelia Kyambadde, Minister of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives for lobbying for funds and mobilizing exporters. She also acknowledged the senior Presidential advisor on AGOA and Trade; Suzan Muhwezi whom she said has been on the top of promoting Ugandan products. After her speech, she visited the trader’s stalls that were set at the Parliamentary parking yard appreciating their work and encouraging them to ensure production of good quality products that are suit the required market.