President Yoweri Museveni has tipped small-scale entrepreneurs to invest in the textile and leather industry in the country as it has the potential to transform the economy of Uganda.
The Head of State encouraged the businessmen to venture into businesses with ready-market, and the sector as it proves to has a ready market to accommodate the industry’s products.
“If you make products that have a ready market, your business will not fail. You hear that I am a cattle keeper and I will remain so because there is always a ready market for my cattle. I would also like you to learn textiles because everybody wears clothes, ” he stated.
He implored the entrepreneurs as well to think beyond the business confinement of their national boundaries, casting their network of opportunities beyond the East African region and the global market.
“When you consider doing something, you have to see if it has a ready market in Uganda, in East Africa and the whole world.”
Uganda, like its counterpart Tanzania, aims to achieve a middle-income economy status by 2025, though unlike its neighbour foreseeing to meet the agenda by 2025.
What both nations have in common that will drive their dreams is industrialisation.
As they look to build sustainable economies to combat with the vast number of challenges within their boundaries, businesses and investments align themselves to the government’s focus.
In 2014, Emmanuel Mwebe, the coordinator of the Uganda Leather and Allied Industries Association (ULAIA) said the absence of a factory to process hides and skin into leather is hindering the growth of the leather industry in Uganda.
The country has seven medium-sized leather tanneries and several small ones, with an installed capacity to process close to 10,000 hides and 47,000 skins per day but no factory that processes hides and skins into final leather.
As a result, many Ugandans prefer imported leather products at the expense of the ‘Made-in-Uganda- commodities dimming them as poor quality.
The situation has robbed the local industry a potential market and productive ground to breed their businesses and brands to grow and be more competitive.
“I would also like you to start tanning the tides from Uganda as opposed to buying expensive leather from other countries. If you reach a level of export promotion, where you export quality products, you will have gone far, ” Museveni added.
Two years later and reformations started taking place. In 2016, ULAIA held talks with India to develop the country’s local industries into producers of finished products.
The project looked at cutting back on the import bill, get more revenue, create new jobs and reduce poverty.
According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBS), Uganda has the potential to produce 1.4 million cattle hides, 3.1 million goatskins and 0.68 million sheepskins annually.
Nonetheless, the collection rates currently average at 1.2 million hides, 2.4 million goat skins and 0.54 million sheepskins.