UMA Chairman Ms. Barbara Mulwana welcomes the President to the UGITF The Presidetn takes a group photo with UMA Board ,Advisory and Trade Minister
H.E. President Yoweri Museveni graced the official opening ceremony of the 25th Uganda International Trade fair, on arrival; He was led By UMA chairman Ms. Mulwana Barbara, the advisory council UMA and the Board members of UMA to a Ground Breaking Ceremony for the late Dr. James Mulwana and Jayaut Madhvani memorial statues.
The Board Marketing Subcommittee chairman, M/s Joseline Kateeba welcomed the guests with opening remarks. She thanked the president for the support given to industrialists and noted among others the liberalization of the sectors and optimal security rendered to investors despite the challenges faced such as drought with an economic slowdown.
As the Chief Guest of the 25th Uganda International Trade Fair, H.E President Yoweri K. Museveni directed officials from Ministry of Finance, UMEME, UDB, Bujagali and Uganda Investment Authority to visit the on-going UGITF in a bid to have interactive sessions with manufacturers for better responses to their various issues of concern.
The directive was given following the speech from H.E Barbara Mulwana about core issues that have stagnated the manufacturers economic contribution; these include among others, the high interest rate of borrowing from commercial banks, the delayed infrastructure development of the Industrial parks, Namanve in particular, the need to refinance UDB with more money, the unrealistic service charge demanded from investors on the Namanve Industrial park for no services rendered, the need to address topical EAC market distorting issues and high cost of capital for the manufacturing sector.
Speaking at the official opening ceremony the President warned against the danger in making policy mistakes because these can be a reason for the slow growth of a country. “Initially under the chairmanship of Jayaut Madhvani chairman in 1963/1964 the economy was growing steadily; but due to mistakes made by former regimes, the policies made became a turning point that saw our country’s economy go down in jeopardy.” He remarked.
With that background, the President highlighted the great contribution of the Late Dr. Mulwana who played a commendable role in the growth of Uganda’s economy through reviving UMA, an association that had been killed by policy mistakes of the past. “By remembering the late Dr. Mulwana and Jayaut Madhvani, we are appreciating that Policy is everything for a country’s economic growth.” He noted.
On the issue of power tariff, the president pointed out that the high power tariff is due to the bad financing decisions of Bujagali Ltd. He requested for patience from the industrialists and noted that “We are having negotiations with Africa Development Bank (ADB) and other alternatives to refinance the loan of Bujagali; a measure that will lower the electricity to make industrialists more competitive in the region since electricity is one of the major items that reduce on the cost of production”.
President Museveni said that he is very optimistic about the Islamic banking as an option of affordable financing. This he said is because of the equity financing option that allows the cost sharing aspect which gives you ownership after full settlement of the loan.
Hon. Amelia Kyambadde, Minister for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, while giving her remarks, pointed out a 10% improvement in surge of business for the last 6 months. This, she attributed to the secure work environment, and the trade policies such as APA and Agoa, the cross border posts that were constructed by Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) among others.
She also noted that her ministry is spear heading the promotion of value chains through empowering especially cotton growers with the right seeds to realize generic capacity of the Cotton industry in a period of a year or two.
On BUBU, the minister reported improved quality and quantity of Ugandan products; “More than 48% of these local products are on the shelves of supermarkets, Shoprite in this case.” She added that this conclusion was realized while she launched the BUBU initiative in supermarkets; more reason to have the local content Bill prioritized as this will allow UMA reduce further the trade imbalance standing at over 3.5 Billion dollars.
In conclusion, H.E Yoweri Museveni thanked investors for finding it worthy to invest in Uganda; he wished exhibitors a successful trade fair thereafter and promised to have “a time table” to handle the cited major challenges for Industrialists.
Tariff to reduce to US 9 cents by July and 7 cents by October 17
UMA Chairman, Mrs. Barbara K Mulwana during an engagement meeting with Bujagali Energy Ltd at UMA
The Chairman of Uganda Manufacturers Association, Mrs. Barbara K Mulwana today had an engagement with Bujagali Energy Ltd (BEL) on electricity tariffs. The meeting was held with Mrs. Josephine Ossiya of Bujagali Energy Ltd and other members were Mr. Richard Mubiru (UMA Board Member), Dr. Martin Kyeyune and Mr. Brian Ahabwe of the UMA Economic Subcommittee. Later, the meeting was joined by Dr. Kariuki from Industrial Promotion Services Ltd (Kenya).
High power tariffs in Uganda has been a topical subject and UMA has been on the fore front of lobbying Government for lower electricity tariffs. Unbundling the electricity supply industry was to realize effectiveness, availability as well as competitiveness and quality of power. But todays tariff is simply not competitive.
During the engagement with BEL, Mrs. Barbara K Mulwana resounded the need for the manufacturing industry to have affordable electricity and was looking at a tariff of 4 US Cents. Mrs. Josephine Ossiya assured the meeting that by July 2017, the tariff will go lower by 2 cents i.e. 9 US Cents as a result of the tax exemption and another drop of 2 US Cents will be experienced in October 17.