Ugandan traders charged $50 for DR Congo Visa

Nebbi, (UG):- Congolese authorities are reportedly extorting money from Ugandan bilateral traders who ply the Goli – Mahagi – Bunia road in Ituri province of  Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, DailyExpress understands.

The authorities are said to be demanding from the Ugandan traders a lump sum of  50 dollars (Shs180,000) for a visa and Shs10,000 as permit fee per individual to gain access into the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Acts of obtaining money for visas and permit from Ugandan traders in this context grossly tantamounts to abrogation of the East African community members’ memorandum of understanding on free visas to which the Democratic Republic of Congo is a party and a custodian of the protocol that formalizes and effects free bilateral trade and movement of individuals from the member countries.

This publication also learnt that there are several illegal roadblocks mounted along the major trade routes to DR.Congo by unscrupulous security personnel, local chiefs and armed bandits who fiercely obtain money, loot goods at times violate human rights and cease the life of traders en route to markets in the Eastern DRC locking golden opportunities for traders and killing the goose that lays golden eggs for the chicken-hearted Ugandan traders.

The timely partnership-led intervention of Trade mark Africa, COMESA and East African community affairs to engage cross-border traders and community members across all the border posts of Uganda presented a fertile ground for echoing challenges the traders and community members are encountering during bilateral trade and ensuring compliance to the East African community protocols on trade and governance through enhancement of capacity of the traders.

Mr Stephen Olama, the Assistant RDC of Nebbi district who attended a two-day workshop organised by Trade mark Africa, COMESA and East African community affairs at Goli one-stop border point in Nebbi district told DailyExpress how money was being extorted from the Ugandan cross-border traders.

“D.R Congo S.Sudan Kenya Tanzania among others are members of the East African community by established protocols when our traders are going for trade across any East African countries they are now not supposed to be asked the passport or visa you just produce the Identity Card but DR.Congo is charging 50 dollars an equivalent of 180,000ugshs for visa and permit fee of 10,000ugshs per person.

If you don’t pay you are denied access and they also stage roadblocks at their border, as one enters, you pay 5 dollars and another 10 dollars to unscrupulous security personnel, and more other groups consisting of ordinary people acting on behalf of local chiefs Among others,” Olama explained to this publication on Monday, June 24, 2024.

Attempts to get comments from the DR.Congo authorities on the reported charges on visa and illegal roadblocks were still fruitless by press time due to bureaucracy in obtaining information.

Trade mark Africa, COMESA and East African community affairs have partnered to enhance the capacity of cross-border traders, mitigate challenges they are encountering and conduct women’s emancipation across all the established border points of Uganda

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