President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has said that the government will continue protecting local manufacturers from unfair competition
“Protection of local industries; that one must be done, and we need to start with other East African countries to promote the local industries by putting taxes on the imported final products and, at some stage, some intermediate products because all these can be produced here,” President Museveni said.
The President made the remarks while meeting members of the Presidential CEO Forum at State House Entebbe.
Led by the Vice Chairman of the Forum, Mr. Emmanuel Katongole, members briefed the President on the achievements registered since the beginning of the forum in 2021.
H.E. Museveni noted that African countries should transform from raw material-producing economies to industrialization if they are to achieve socio-economic transformation.
He gave an example of the global textile industry that is worth US$800 million and that Uganda has been missing out on as a result of exporting unprocessed cotton.
“When you hear that all these countries are collapsing because they can’t maintain security, it’s because the economy is not growing. Why? Because they export raw materials,” President Museveni stated.
He asked the Presidential CEO Forum to join the government in fighting against corruption, which he said is delaying local investment in Uganda.
“I am happy with the activities of the forum. Let’s help ourselves with corruption because there are a lot of government people asking for bribes from investors. They are delaying investment,” he further stressed.
The president also decried the fake seedlings being distributed to farmers and vowed to replace the distributors, who have since turned into seed growers.
“The Operation Wealth Creation people whom we had put there to distribute have now become seed growers. We’re going to replace them with institutional agencies like prisons and the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) to produce seeds since they are looking for quick money,” H.E. Museveni informed the Forum.
This after the Permanent Secretary-Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, Mr. Ramathan Ggoobi, informed the President about their allocation of 2.32 trillion shillings to the Parish development Model and working on how to remove barriers for the small businesses to access the 200 billion shillings small business recovery funds.
President Museveni said the government is committed to providing cheap electricity and cheap transport as one of the ways to ensure the low cost of doing business in Uganda.
“We’re going to build a new 840 megawatt dam in Ayago. We’re also going to build 200 megawatts of solar in Bulambuli at a price of 5 cents per unit,” H.E. Museveni said.
The Vice Chairman of the Presidential CEO Forum, Mr. Emmanuel Katongole, informed the President that since the first engagement with the CEOs in Kyankwanzi in 2021, a lot of reforms have been implemented to support local businesses to access the new markets. He added that 51 joint venture companies and initiatives have been approved under the country’s oil and gas sector, and an agreement has been reached with logistics companies and the Uganda Cargo Consolidators Association to facilitate intra-East African Community trade and insurance.
“There has been sensitization about the existing tax holidays; fees for product certification have been lowered for products of SMEs; and a US$217 million grant has been processed from the World Bank to support women enterprises in Uganda,” Mr. Katongole said.
The Presidential CEO Forum was inaugurated in 2021 by President Museveni with a call to the business community to adopt import substitution and export promotion if the country is to realize tangible economic progress.
The Forum is a direct and adequate link between the private sector leadership, CEOs of corporate institutions, and government executives with the aim of contributing to the National Development Agenda.
The meeting was also attended by the Minister of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, Hon. Matia Kasaija; the Minister of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives, Hon. Francis Mwebesa; the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa; and various CEOs from the public and private sectors.