President Yoweri Museveni has asked local industries to use more local inputs for manufacturing products.
Mr. Museveni made the remarks on Thursday 7th at Kololo Independence Grounds where he officially opened Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) Expo.
The BUBU Expo is an exhibition of products manufactured by local industries. BUBU policy which targets promotion of local industries and consumption of locally manufactured products took effect in March 2017.
The on-going three days Expo is part of activities to mark two years of BUBU policy which Trade Minister, Amelia Kyambadde says is already registering dividends in terms of increased export volumes, trade surplus in the region and a reducing balance of trade deficit.
Museveni toured a number of exhibitors and applauded Ugandans who have started participating in industrial. He, however, bemoaned importation of industrial inputs that can be produced locally.
Museveni said that since Uganda is exporting more to the region than it imports, is indication that Ugandans are waking up to participate in production.
Uganda earned 1.5 trillion Shillings from trade with neighbouring countries during the 2017/18 financial year, according to Bank of Uganda statistics. Exports to the East African Community region totalled USD 1.2 billion, while imports were valued at USD 806 million.
South Sudan topped the regional markets for Uganda’s exports with goods worth 1.2 trillion Shilling. During the same time, Uganda imported goods worth 54 billion Shillings from South Sudan, registering a surplus of 1.1 trillion Shillings.
Exports to Rwanda were valued at USD 197 million while the imports were valued at USD 20 million, registering a surplus of USD 177 million.
For the first time, Uganda registered USD 122 million trade surplus with Kenya, with exports worth USD 628 million to and imports worth USD 505 million.
Uganda had in the previous year exported goods valued at USD 475 million and imported goods valued at USD 516 million to Kenya, registering USD 41 million trade deficit.
Museveni said government will not give up until it achieves a global trade surplus. Uganda’s trade deficit currently stands at USD 2.9 billion. He pointed out leather for making shoes as one of the inputs that should not be imported.
Museveni argued that there are enough hides and skins which should be upgraded instead of exporting and importing it again.
Museveni also appealed to the pharmaceutical industries to increase use of local inputs such as sugar and starch. He said locally manufactured sugar should be refined for industrial use.