Uganda’s imports from Tanzania almost doubled in April, signalling an increased reliance on East Africa’s second-largest economy.
According to the Bank of Uganda monthly performance report, Uganda, in April, imported goods worth $125m (Shs443b), representing an increase of 25 per cent.
This was up from $92.9m worth of goods imported in March, which according to the United Nations (Comtrade) database on international trade, contributed to a cumulative import bill of $743.68m (Shs2.6 trillion) from Tanzania during 2020.
Tanzania remains one of Uganda’s strategic trade partners. However, the two countries have had trade challenges in the last two years, with Tanzania blocking some of Uganda’s exports including sugar.
Uganda mainly imports machinery, agriculture products, and medicines from Tanzania. During the period ended December 2029, according to Comtrade, Uganda imported pearls, precious stones, metals, coins from Tanzania, which cost $591.26m.
These were the leading imports followed by cereals such as rice and wheat, which cost $79.76m.
Other imports include edible vegetables and roots, tubers, iron and steel, fish, crustaceans, molluscs, aquatics, paper and paperboard, articles of pulp, paper and board.
Dr Adam Mugume, the Bank of Uganda executive director of research, yesterday attributed the surge to gold imports, noting that Tanzania was one of the main sources of Uganda’s gold re-exports.
Bank of Uganda data indicates that during April, Uganda earned $175.61m (Shs623b) from gold up from $155.9m (Shs552b) in March.
Regional economic analyst Alykhan Satchu, said the increase was an important signal to the Samia Suluhu Hassan administration, noting that it is designed to accelerate reciprocated trade between the two countries.