Rwanda and Uganda have been the forefront East Africa nations in promoting their locally manufactured products. Made in Rwanda “movement” has been a bid mostly to support the iron industry and handicrafts among other products. Rwandan Premier Paul Kagame has also asked the citizens to promote their country by not importing goods but rather buy their locally available goods.
Now, more than ever Uganda are voicing and reiterating the same in their boundaries by urging the retailers to stock more Uganda made goods in bulk, to sell out more of their home. In a bid to address local content under the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) policy, the ministry of Trade has tasked supermarkets in Uganda to provide 40 per cent shelf space to locally made goods.
Speaking at the launch of the action plan for BUBU, the Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde said the 40 per cent shelf space will go a long way in increasing the visibility of locally made goods on the market.
“Supermarkets should start putting Ugandan products where they are visible. Let us make these goods visible but even the producers, meet quality standards, present your products better, well packaged, and branded,” she said last week at the ministry headquarters in Kampala.
Although there has been growth in the number of supermarkets in the country, increase in middle class and employment of women, this growth is not in sync with the increase of locally made goods in supermarket stocks.
BUBU is expected to create more jobs, increase domestic revenue, tap into potential of local raw materials, improve standards of Ugandan products and deal with the problem of trade deficit.
According to Uganda National Bureau of Standards 2011/2012 report, trade balance grew from a deficit of $2.4b in 2010/2011 to $2.5b in 2011/2012 as Uganda continued to import goods at higher costs.
Imported goods compete with locally made goods for market.
The commissioner in charge of internal trade at the ministry of Trade, Mr Raymond Agaba, in defence of the policy, said: “We are members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and it talks about nondiscrimination but we are acting on public procurement, one of the agreements under WTO. This is called plurilateral agreement and it is binding to only countries signed up to it. Uganda being a developing country we need policy space to grow our economy.”