This is to inform you that clearance of cargo at the Mombasa port has since April been a hurdle taking up to 10 days and more, longer than the usual standard time of 2 days! Both exporters and importers of cargo have witnessed queuing and extra time of voyage and dwell of cargo at the port; a situation that has escalated unpleasant extra costs in terms of storage, dismantling and demurrage charges estimated to go up to $15,000 (150,000) per consignment. These have generally disrupted trade and transport agreements which come with concern that ought to be addressed to save the exporters and importers especially of raw materials from incurring extra costs and delays.
When UMA contacted Kenya Ports Authority’s regional representative, Mr. Muhamad Awadh Jezan, he said that the congestion has been as a result of the systems upgrade, expansion at Mombasa port and the civil works of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) currently being undertaken. The systems upgrades are part of Mombasa port’s mega expansion projects aimed at providing world-class logistics platforms for shipping with world class facilities that will vastly improve the efficiency and ease of doing business at the port. Mr. Jezan said, “KPA is doing all that is necessary to ensure that business gets back to normal”
Mombasa is the major port through which UMA members import raw materials, Machinery and equipment. Exports include; Tea, Coffee, Cocoa, Cotton and Skins/Hides among others. These have faced a set back as a result of the current chain of operational inefficiencies that are affecting business at Mombasa port.
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PRIME MINISTER PLEDGES GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR LOCAL MANUFACTURERS
The Chairman UMA, H.E. Barbara Mulwana while hosting the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda on Wednesday at the 25th UMA trade fair, advocated among others; the need to have the power cost reduced to the 5/KWH that was initially promised by H.E. Yoweri K. Museveni the previous year and the need to fast-track the mainstreaming of BUBU Policy through the enactment of the local content Bill as soon as possible so as to improve competitiveness of domestic manufacturers against foreign cheap products.
“We really want local content to be streamlined. A paper has been passed by government on measures aimed at moderating procedures to increase local production capacity to realize more exportation.” Rt. Hon. Rugunda reaffirmed.
He spoke on recapitalization of Uganda Development Bank (UDB) and asserted that UMA needs to appreciate that recapitalization of UDB has commenced. So far Government has allocated 50 Billion Ug. shillings every year to UDB as a starting point. “However little it is, we have to appreciate the effort in creating more affordable financing options for industrialists.” he said.
The Prime Minister further highlighted the reduction of the Central Bank Rate (CBR) to 9.5% on Tuesday, 3rd October, 2017 which will toe the line in making financing more affordable as this reduction will encourage more to borrow at a fair interest rate from commercial banks.
Still in the quest to assure manufacturers of alternative financing options, Rt. Hon. Rugunda noted that the President invited India Exim Bank with the Chamber of Business to sensitize Ugandans on the available financing options from the India Exim Bank. He noted that they will be hosted in November this year.
About the slow pace of set up of industrial parks, Namanve in particular; Rt. Hon. Rugunda noted that the government is aware of the challenges facing industrialists and that the President is picking up with the momentum to address issues like the Namanve industrial park to fast-track the infrastructure developments on the land to ease production it is imperative are in boosting the competitiveness of the local industrialists against the foreign products.
While giving last remarks, H.E. Mulwana thanked the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister for taking time to visit UMA and the extensive help his office has rendered to UMA; she noted that the manufacturing fraternity is very grateful to not only his office, but also the line Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives for especially championing the BUBU policy; a policy that will gear this economy for greater heights.