The local manufacturing sector in Uganda is pushing the government to do more in encouraging Ugandans to consume locally made products.
Increased consumption would help them become more competitive, employ more Ugandans and generate revenue to the national coffers. The producers also want government agencies to give them priority before procuring products from elsewhere; especially to those whose products have been certified by the standard body in the country.
Mr Akshay Agarwal, the managing director of Kwality Afro Asia Limited, said in a forum: “We have the best locally made products on the market but for us to employ more people, we would want the home population to consume our products.”He continued: “We are hoping that government will influence that decision by encouraging the people to buy products made here.“At the same time, we would want the population to have confidence in our products because they are of the highest quality even better than the imported stuff.”
According to Mr Arkshay, local manufacturers always put into perspective the affordability of the products and package for different local markets without compromising the standard and inflating the price.
In an earlier interview, Mr SsebagalaKigozi, the executive director of Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA), said the country’s currency volatility is largely as a result of being a net importer. The counter measure should be for Ugandans to rise above the mentality that imported goods are superior to locally manufactured ones. Massive purchase of locally made products would benefit both the economy and Ugandans themselves
According to Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB) data, Uganda’s total merchandise exports in 2014 were $2.6b (Shs8.7 trillion) and by close of last year, they had hit $2.7b (Shs9 trillion).On the other hand, merchandise imports into the country reached $6 billion (about 20.2 trillion) by end of last year.
To avert the fears of manufacturers of Germilon multipurpose antiseptics and disinfectant products, the Trade ministry, while presenting its budget estimates for the next financial year before Parliament, indicated that it will be kickstarting ‘Buy Uganda Build Uganda’ (BUBU) Implementation.
The ministry will also conduct an inventory of locally produced goods and services identify and certify non-certified Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) products, undertake survey of products and services of 50 members from the business community and other stakeholders shall be sensitised on hire purchase, law and regulation.
The ministry is expected to head product market research and development/trade policy research, and trade. Licensing data shall be collected from 20 municipalities for the development of the business register, the sector plans to carry out verification visits on non-tariff barriers at various border posts.
‘Buy Uganda Build Uganda’ policy aims at giving prominence to goods produced locally. It also gives guidance to policy makers to ensure promotion of consumption of locally produced goods. According to the policy, deliberate interventions will be made to ensure locally produced goods are considered while government is procuring items and that the products will be in supermarkets with minimum or no hassle.