President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has said that the government will continue protecting local manufacturers from unfair competition with their foreign counterparts.
“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 on Tuesday 21st November 2023 while meeting members of the Presidential CEO Forum at State House Entebbe.
These led by the Vice Chairman of the Presidential CEO Forum, Mr. Emmanuel Katongole had come to brief 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 Dollars 800 million that Uganda has been missing out as a result of exporting unprocessed cotton which according to him has got seven (7) job levels.
“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, adding that the Presidential CEO Forum should also help the government in fighting against corruption which he said is delaying local investment in Uganda.
“I’m glad that this forum is coming up. 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 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, 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 low cost of doing business in Uganda.
“We’re going to build a new 840 megawatts 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 Uganda Cargo Consolidators Association to facilitate the 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 Dollar 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 realise tangible economic progress.
The Forum is a direct and adequate link between the private sector leadership, CEOs from 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, Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa and various CEOs from the public and private sector.