BY PPU REPORTER
President Yoweri Museveni has attributed the crisis in Africa to the situation where the continent is buying from other countries and not producing.
“The crisis in Africa is that we buy and do not produce. The challenge we have is for us to wake up and use our talents. Excess imports devalue our national currency,” he said.
The President made the remarks at Kololo Independence Ceremonial Grounds in Kampala during the launch of the Buy Ugandan Build Uganda (BUBU) Expo 2019, a programme that works under the policy of Buy Ugandan Build Uganda. The 3-day expo is the first arrangement of its kind whose target is to ensure import substitution and creation of employment for Ugandans.
Mr. Museveni said that in a modern world, there are 3 important people, the producer, the buyer and the Government that links them to facilitate their business transactions through the provision of roads, security and electricity. He observed that without a buyer, the producer has no role, as he would be compelled to close business. He told the exhibitors in particular and wananchi in general that in the past, Uganda used to import powdered milk from Denmark. He was, however, pleased to note that the situation has been reversed as Uganda is currently self-sufficient in milk production. He also expressed pleasure that wnanchi have started to wake up as exhibited by their production and value addition to various items.
He, therefore, called upon Ugandans to stop the importation of leather for manufacturing shoes and other related products but instead add value to the skins and hides produced locally in the country. He also recommended that pharmaceutical grade sugar should be made in Uganda by refining the available raw materials so as to deliberately benefit both pharmaceuticals and drugs firms.
President Museveni informed the people that in the past, copper used to be refined up to a level of 94% instead of 99.9%, which is required for the production of various items such as wires. He revealed that the NRM Government is fully committed to correcting the anomaly. He paid tribute to local entrepreneurs for embarking on making threads from banana fibres and praised their determination and stand on the promotion of locally produced goods.
Noting that Uganda today exports to the region, the President added that there is an even bigger potential of exporting to the World. He said that the Government has provided security, electricity and roads and is now working on the railway network as part of efforts to reduce transport costs plus working towards the reduction of interest rates through the Uganda Development Bank that is expected to provide funds at a rate of 12%.
The Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija said that Government spends about 60% of its budget in the purchase of goods and services. He said that it would be appropriate to ensure that this expenditure supports our local industries. He allayed fears of delayed payments for goods and services consumed by Government.
The Minister of Trade and Industries, Amelia Kyambadde saluted President Museveni for enabling the establishment of the Export Development Fund which is to be launched soon. She said that BUBU is out to ensure quality products. She observed that among the 350 exhibitors, 20% were importing their raw materials.
She was pleased to note that the iron and steel sector has got 24 industries. She added that 5 industries were involved in the production of 4.43 million metric tons of cement per annum. She said that BUBU is there to create awareness for consumers to buy products made in Uganda.