Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has told ruling party lawmakers that stoppage of Ugandan exports to Rwanda will have no impact.
Calling the Uganda-Rwanda ongoing standoff “these temporary things”, Museveni said Uganda exports to much bigger markets like Kenya and Ethiopia. He did not mention “Rwanda” or any leader.
Museveni was speaking at a meeting of all members of parliament of his National Resistance Movement (NRM).
“When there is a problem here, there is another compensatory opportunity somewhere else,” said Museveni, adding that from Ethiopia alone, earnings reach $700m.
Museveni’s comments come after the Rwandan Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Thursday coming down hard on statement from Uganda’s foreign ministry on Wednesday in which it claimed that Kigali had imposed “trade embargo” on Uganda.
“The Government of Rwanda calls upon the Government of Uganda to address the key issues stated above and as already repeatedly communicated in bilateral settings,” said Rwanda in its response.
Figures from both Uganda and Rwanda show that Uganda exports here some $240m worth of goods. Ugandan exporters said recently that they were losing $600,000 daily due to troubles with Rwanda.
Rwanda on its part, only exported $27m worth last year to Uganda.
Meanwhile, regional bus companies in Uganda that have been traveling the Kigali-Kampala route for years say after the fallout, each manages to send only 1 bus daily to Rwanda, as there as no clients.
Previously, each company had 8 buses daily coming to Rwanda, and the same number going to Uganda.
Rwanda has advised its nationals not to travel to Uganda because government says it cannot guarantee they will be safe – which has been enforced at border. No person carrying Rwandan ID is allowed to go through.