The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has asked the ministers of foreign affairs in different countries of Africa to ease the acquisition of visas for their citizens to make travelling to other countries simple.
While addressing Ugandans who live in Canada at the 3rd Uganda Canadian Diaspora Business Expo and Convention in Toronto, Canada, Kadaga said that the time lag of receiving a visa to other countries, most times of which are given out of the country of the passport’s origin, have proved a barrier thereby limited the movement of people.
According to her, the foreign affairs office should set up a reciprocal arrangement in order to check on the delays in issuing visas to respective citizens.
“When the Schengen arrangement started in 1995, a visa of Germany could take you anywhere in Europe, but now almost every country wants the processing of their own visas and it seems our foreign affairs office is unaware about this,” said speaker Kadaga.
“Uganda processes visas at the port of entry whereby persons getting into the country can get a visa on arrival at Entebbe Airport. We need to set up such arrangements with other major countries which our people travel to so as to ease their access to visas,” added speaker Kadaga.
In addition, the Speaker stressed that they have already planned to facilitate Ugandans living in the diaspora and also renew their passports as well as issue Uganda national identification cards and certificates of dual citizenship to them.
Furthermore, She called upon diaspora residents to invest in Uganda owing to the fact that religious tourism is taking root in the country.
“We agreed in 2018 that for a start, the Government would facilitate six centres around the world which can give services to Ugandans in the diaspora. We have a Middle East office in Abu Dhabi, a UK office in London, a US office in Washington, a SADC office in Pretoria and the Canada office will be in Ottawa,” speaker Kadaga said.
“It’s a very big thing that Uganda has the martyrs that is why we have been visited by three Popes. On Martyrs Day, Namugongo had up to five million people. This is an opportunity that Ugandans in the diaspora can tap into and invest in things like hotel facilities,” added Kadaga.
Appropriately, the chairperson of the Uganda Canadian Diaspora Business Expo and Convention, John Nalima also pinpointed that this convention themed ‘Building Uganda and Networking Diaspora Initiatives’ is aimed at linking Ugandans living in Canadian to sector players who can facilitate investment back home and also give Ugandans an opportunity to live in Canada.
By John Dalton Kigozi