Exporters in Uganda are losing at least $600,000 (Rwf530m) for every day that they are unable to bring goods into Rwanda, data from the Uganda Export Promotion Board shows.
Dr Elly Twineyo, executive director of the Board told Ugandan media on Tuesday that Uganda earns up to $200m in exports to Rwanda every year.
“In addition, what we trade with Rwanda informally is between $10m to 40m,” said Twineyo.
The government of Rwanda informed Uganda that it was closing the Gatuna border to allow for construction of the One Stop Border Post to serve teh two countries. Heavy traffic was redirected to Kagitumba/Mirama hills border, more than 100km away.
The government in Uganda has since summed up the whole situation as a closure of the border.
Twineyo from the Uganda exports board said that as the unclear circumstances under which the Rwanda-Uganda border is operating are creating uncertainty for exporters, maintaining that Rwanda’s market was very crucial to the Ugandan business community.
“You import what you don’t produce, in other words Rwanda imports products from Uganda that it needs. In any way, I have not heard of countries that are neighbours that have closed the border to each other,” he said.
Speaking today in Kigali, Rwanda’s Foreign Minister and Government Spokesman Dr Richard Sezibera said Rwanda sends about $19m (Rwf 17billion) worth of exports to Uganda annually.
The vast majority of Rwanda’s exports go to European Union, China and the United States in the form of minerals, coffee and tea. More informal trade is done between Rwanda and DR Congo, than with Uganda.