KAMPALA – Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has said Africa is in a crisis where countries are buying from outside rather than producing.
“The crisis in Africa is that we buy and do not produce. The challenge we have is for us to wake up and use our talents. Excess imports devalue our national currency,” said Mr Museveni.
According to a State House statement, the President made the remarks at the launch of the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) Expo 2019 held at the Kololo Independence Ceremonial Grounds in Kampala last week.
BUBU is a programme that works under the policy of Buy Ugandan Build Uganda.
The three-day expo is the first of its kind whose target is to ensure import substitution and creation of employment for Ugandans.
Mr Museveni said that in a modern world, there are 3 important people, the producer, the buyer and the government that links them to facilitate their business transactions through the provision of roads, security and electricity.
He observed that without a buyer, the producer has no role, as he would be compelled to close business.
According to the statement, Museveni told the exhibitors and citizens that in the past, Uganda used to import powdered milk from Denmark but this has since changed as the country is currently self-sufficient in milk production.
He also expressed pleasure that the citizens have started to wake up as exhibited by their production and value addition to various items.
The president asked Ugandans to stop the importation of leather for manufacturing shoes and other related products but instead add value to the skins and hides produced locally in the country.
He also suggested that pharmaceutical grade sugar should be made in Uganda by refining the available raw materials so as to deliberately benefit both pharmaceuticals and drugs firms.
Mr Museveni informed said that in the past, copper used to be refined up to a level of 94% instead of 99.9%, which is required for the production of various items such as wires.
He revealed that the government is fully committed to correcting the anomaly.
Local entrepreneurs lauded
The president also paid tribute to local entrepreneurs for embarking on making threads from banana fibres and praised their determination and stand on the promotion of locally produced goods.
About Uganda’s current exports to the region, the President added that there is an even bigger potential of exporting to the World.
He said that government has provided security and electricity and the railway network is being worked on as part of efforts to reduce transport costs.
Mr Museveni said that government was working towards the reduction of interest rates through the Uganda Development Bank that is expected to provide funds at a rate of 12%.
Finance Minister Matia Kasaija said that government spends about 60% of its budget in the purchase of goods and services.
He said that it would be appropriate to ensure that this expenditure supports the local industries and allayed fears of delayed payments for goods and services consumed by government.
Minister of Trade and Industries Amelia Kyambadde lauded the President for enabling the establishment of the Export Development Fund which is to be launched soon.
She said that BUBU is out to ensure quality products observing that out of the 350 exhibitors, 20% were importing their raw materials.
Ms Kyambadde noted that the iron and steel sector have got 24 industries where five industries were involved in the production of 4.43 million metric tons of cement per annum.
She said that BUBU is there to create awareness for consumers to buy products made in Uganda.
By David Sseguya