BY ROBERT KAMUKAMA
ENTEBBE, Uganda|SHIFTMEDIA|President Yoweri Museveni has urged Ugandans, especially manufacturers, to use the challenges that COVID-19 has imposed on the country to innovate and manufacture products locally to spur his drive for import-substitution.
Speaking during the celebration of Uganda’s 58 years of Independence on Friday at State House, Entebbe, Museveni also banned any further importation of buses in the country, saying Kiira Motors Corporation had shown its capacity to manufacture buses locally.
“I have already written to the Government. I do not want to hear any more of imported buses. They will be bought from here. We also have the capacity to assemble our own. So, I do not want to also hear about importing assembled buses,” he said.
The Kiira Motors Corporation electronic car assembling plant is expected to be completed in June next year.
President Museveni said much as COVID 19 had its negative impact, it also came in with positive impact that has seen local manufacturers produce items like sanitizers, face masks and PPEs.
He described the countries economic outlook as positive, especially regarding the aspect of import substitution.
Museveni said that much as the journey since independence hasn’t been smooth, in recent years, the government has constructed 168 industries that has spurred employment and growth in terms of revenue to the state.
He noted that despite COVID 19, the economy has continued to grow.
“Our economy has been able to withstand the potential negative impact of COVID-19. In case you are not sure that Uganda can stand on its own, you have seen,” he said.
He said though the borders and airports were closed, the country remained operation, a fact, that indicates, we (Uganda) can stand on our own.
To avoid the importation of paper, the President said plans are underway to start manufacturing paper from banana fibres locally.
Museveni said a total of 246 projects were licensed in 2019, projecting an investment capital of $877 million.
Production of manufactured goods, Museveni said, has also increased, with sugar now registering about 500m tonnes and steel (280,000 tonnes), among others.
Due to under-declaration, Museveni said the production of beer recorded slightly lower rates. However, he added that the problem of under-declaration has been cured with the introduction of digital stamps.