In a bid to uplift local manufacturing, Honourable Gidudu Mafabi, the Minister of State for Elderly Affairs, representing the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister, has pledged substantial support to the industry at the 12th Eastern Region Trade Fair. Organized by the Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA), this week-long event commenced on 31st May and is set to run till 6th June 2023 at Mbale Secondary School Grounds, under the theme “Celebrating Local Manufacturing Excellence”.
Minister Mafabi, speaking on behalf of the Prime Minister, confirmed the government’s dedication to economic growth and poverty alleviation, underlined by a 5 trillion-shilling allocation to the parish development model. The initiative aims to resolve raw material shortages for manufacturers, thereby encouraging Ugandans to engage in the money economy, contributing to job creation and tax revenue.
“The government has set three development priorities: the parish model, enhancing the salary of scientists, and broadening the financial base for social economic transformation,” Mafabi noted.
The government’s commitment was welcomed by UMA Chairman, Deo Kayemba, who believes that the parish development model, if well implemented, will supplement the production value chain. He further highlighted the recent surge of innovation in local manufacturing, which includes the production of smartphones, televisions, smartwatches, electric meters, and motorbikes.
However, Kayemba also addressed significant barriers faced by the industry: high power costs, currently at about 11 US cents per kilowatt-hour, and average lending rates of over 20%. He proposed the operationalization of the direct power purchase model and low power tariff initiatives to mitigate these issues and catalyze growth.
With over 100 manufacturers, traders, distributors, and an estimated 50,000 visitors, the Trade Fair is set to provide a robust platform for showcasing the industry’s achievements, fostering partnerships, and launching new products, heralding a promising future for Ugandan manufacturing.