Two Manufacturers i.e. Leather Industries of Uganda Ltd and Mavid Pharmaceuticals Ltd had faced closure by National Environment Management Authority and National Drug Authority Respectively. The reasons for closure were purportedly intolerable effluent discharge and resignation of the company Pharmacist respectively. In as much as both cases could have had some element of truth, the way the closures were conducted was not fair. There was inadequate investigation of the problem and quick decision to force shut down of operations which UMA felt was not fair.
UMA does not condone environmental degradation; we believe in sustainable use of environmental resources to foster industrial growth and development. But closure was not the solution either. Many other industries have compliance issues but we need to recognize the importance of industrial growth and mere closure is not one of the alternatives. We need to have a supportive approach rather than one of intolerance.
UMA did a lot of moderation through a many grueling negotiations and discussions, and the victimized companies have also made significant improvements at their premises. Both closures were upturned
The Government had placed a total ban on manufacturing of plastic bags as well as a 120% Excise duty on all other plastics. Uganda Manufacturers Association managed to convince Government that the issue of “kavera” banning is not a solution to poor waste disposal. Government has made and extension in the ban which will give the manufacturing community more time to lobby a better position.
In ensuring that our members operate at lower costs of production, UMA objected to the Electricity Regulatory Authority’s introduction of the monthly tariff adjustment of power tariffs i.e. that power tariffs be determined by factors such as international fuel prices, inflation and the foreign exchange rate. Through our lobbying ERA opted for a quarterly tariff adjustment of power currently being applied. Since its introduction we have seen a reduction in power tariffs by between 2% to 0.8% for medium and large industrial users respectively.
UMA engages in consultative meetings. The outcomes of these meetings have seen several members exempted from payment of import duty through stay of application of Common External Tariff (CET) on certain raw materials and intermediate products. In addition products which we have a competitive advantage have been protected though an increment in the CET. UMA continues to have consultative meetings with all the major sectors to understand their issues and challenges with the view to develop stronger policy positions to be submitted to Government.
The East African Community member states a few years ago agreed on the gross weight limit of 56 tonnes for commercial vehicles plying the regional road network. The drivers whose trucks were found exceeding the accepted load limit would be fined. The Kenya National Highway Authority went on and insisted on weighing each axle of the trucks, which marked the beginning of the axle load limit challenge. UMA wrote to the Minister for Trade, industry and cooperatives, Hon Amelia Kyambadde and the Prime Minister Hon Amama Mbabazi on issues concerning the same. A dialogue meeting took place between the President and his Kenyan counterpart to address matter which was finally solved.
UMA has managed to convince Government that the Private Sector and manufacturing community need to be in continuous dialogue while developing policies. Through the office of the First Deputy Prime Minister, a Forum has been created that will hold regular meetings to discuss issues of the manufacturing sector
Government has agreed with UMA that Uganda’s manufacturing community cannot continue competitively with out the “list of raw materials” zero duty. The Government of Uganda has now written the East African Community Secretariat to request that Uganda’s list of raw materials remains.
UMA’s continuously participates in the National budget making process through our annual budget proposal to Government, pre-budget consultations with the Ministry of Finance as well as Post Budget dialogue with Government. The proposal incorporates members’ interests as far as the National budget is concerned. From the time UMA was established, proposals have been submitted to Government and majority are considered