It is increasingly clear that government is appreciating UMA’s lobbying and advocacy through taking steps to make the ‘Buy-Uganda Build-Uganda’ mantra a reality.
Government recently announced the tax policy changes in the customs following amendments regarding customs duties and laws for the financial year 2019/2020 that saw an increase in import taxes of certain products that were causing unfair competition for local manufacturers as listed in the Downloadable document Here.
The changes that are expected to take effect on July 1, will incentivise local manufacturers by creating a levelled playing field against imports, while signalling investments into production of such goods which mainly take up local raw materials.
Manufacturers of products such as toilet paper, exercise books, toothbrushes, biscuits, shoe polish, sugar, carton boxes, iron sheets or steel wool, mattresses among others are some of the direct beneficiaries of UMA’s persistent lobbying.
In a bid to promote the growth of local manufacturers in the various sectors, UMA has been lobbying government through Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to make necessary tax policy adjustments specifically regarding customs duties as an offer of market space to the local industry. Such a move will allow suppliers of raw materials to get market, while industries expand, grow capacity and employ more people thus defining what industrialisation for job creation and shared prosperity is all about.
Even as we celebrate this milestone, we are unwavering in our commitment towards promoting and protecting interests of all manufacturers through coherent policy advocacy with focus on the mainstreaming of Local Content in all sectors; lobbying for sanctions against accounting officers who fail to adhere to the terms set out in the PPDA reservation guidelines with continuous lobbying of government to fast-track the local content bill which will facilitate the increment in procurement of locally produced goods.
President Yoweri Museveni has assured manufacturers that all of them, including small and micro enterprises, will get electricity at a cheaper cost. However, the tariffs reduction would be implemented in phases, starting with large industries that are getting electricity at five US cents.
The President said with the refinancing of the Bujagali power project, electricity tariffs have to go down. This was contained in Museveni's speech delivered by the finance minister, Matia Kasaija, at the opening of the 26th International Trade fair yesterday. The event is taking place at the UMA showground at Lugogo, Kampala.
"Unfortunately, affordable power for all manufactures was delayed by people who could not understand centrality in our transformation. As I indicated to you earlier, the cost of power shall continue to reduce until we realise five US cents per kilowatt hour for all manufacturers," said Museveni.
He added that so far, big manufacturers have accessed cheaper power. With enough power, the government will achieve its priorities in manufacturing under the Vision 2040, where the Government wants to ensure that 50 of Uganda's exports are manufactured goods. The President said that is why the Government is supporting the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) campaign. He said he had already instructed the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority to work with manufacturers to create reservation guidelines that support local sourcing. Museveni said such a move would increase foreign earnings for the country and also create employment for the youth.
He pointed out that recently; he commissioned a Chinese manufacturing facility in Kapeeka, which will save Uganda $35m annually in addition to earning Uganda $15m in exports. Museveni revealed that a spinning mill would soon be established in Uganda, which will consume about 20 of Uganda's cotton that now stands at 150,000 bales.
"This means I need additional four such factories to consume more cotton and lint to guarantee a decent farm gate price for all cotton farmers now aggregating 2.5 million," he said.
The trade minister, Amelia Kyambadde, said from the time the BUBU policy was launched, a lot has been achieved in terms of creating market opportunities for locally produced products. She said new regulations are being developed on a reservation scheme that will make it mandatory for all government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to procure products made in Uganda.
Through the BUBU policy,' Sinohydro Corporation Limited, which is undertaking the construction of Karuma hydropower project, is now procuring all cement and iron bars from local manufacturers.
Hima Cement alone has a contract to supply cement worth $5,667,056 (about sh20.7b). She added that in the last financial year, the government MDAs bought furniture worth over sh350m from the Uganda Prisons furniture workshop.
The furniture was purchased by State House,Equal Opportunities Commission," the finance ministry, works ministry and the Standard Gauge Railway project.
Furthermore, Picfare/Nytil has signed a contract with the Uganda National Medical Stores to supply uniforms to all government hospitals, Kyambadde said. In the services sector, through the Petroleum Authority of Uganda, local companies have supplied local products and services worth $37.24 m (about sh141b).
The supplies have been in form of food, beverages, drilling and production materials as well as construction materials. There also services such as catering, transport, security, land surveying, clearing and forwarding.