President Museveni has said expanding and enhancing the quality and the quantity of Uganda’s exports is the surest way of earning foreign exchange, creating employment opportunities and improving the citizens’ welfare.
He said continuous efforts should be undertaken to recognize and salute those who contribute towards boosting the country’s export base.
The President made the remarks in a speech delivered by the Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda during the President’s Export Award 2017 ceremony organized under the theme “Exporting-growth opportunity of the local Industry” at Imperial Royale Hotel on Thursday.
President Museveni called upon exporters in the country to continue investing in value addition which will improve the manufacturing base, and industrialize the economy.
He said Uganda’s economy has grown over the years, in terms of total output realized, tax revenue collected, the products exported and the market base.
“Our economy has grown over the years from a miserable total output of USD 5.2 billion in 1986 to over USD 27.2 billion by end of 2017 correspondingly, in I986, tax revenue collections were less than UGX 5 billion and by the end of the financial year 2016/17, total revenue collections had increased to UGX 12.7 trillion,” the President said.
He added that Uganda’s export base increased in 1998 to 40 products from 12 products in 1986, whereas destination markets for Uganda’s products have expanded to include new markets in China, India, COMESA, United Arab Emirates and East African Community among others, in addition to the traditional markets in Europe and North America.
Museveni tasked Government Agencies entrusted with the duty of promoting investments and enhancing exports in the country to galvanize efforts in removing barriers that hinder businesses.
He emphasized that government will continue to focus on enhancing infrastructure that promotes the country’s export market in addition to reducing the cost of doing business.
“We have put more money into expanding electricity generation from 60 megawatts in 1986 to about 900 megawatts today. Upon the completion of Isimba, Karuma, Ayago and Achwa, our annual generation of electricity will be about 2600 megawatts. That step should enable us to have more affordable and reliable power to drive our industrialization agenda,” Museveni said.
He also said Peace, stability and security have enabled investors to build confidence in the country’s economy and thus asked citizens to guard it jealously.
The President urged exporters to work on consolidating international trade gains and also comply with the necessary regulatory requirements of both domestic and international markets.
He pledged continuous government support towards providing an enabling environment for the private sector.
The Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Amelia Kyambadde said Uganda seeks to increase value addition in its exports to enhance foreign exchange and boost industrialization.
She thanked government for the enablers it has put in place to promote the country’s exports.
“I thank government for the enablers it has put in place to increase exports, for example, peace and stability, enhancing ICT, infrastructure development, supportive government structures such as Uganda Investment Authority, Uganda Export Promotion Board, Uganda National Bureau of Standards and supporting boarder systems among others which have all promoted exports in the country,” Kyambadde said.
The Chairman of Uganda Export Promotion Board, Nimrod Waniala said the Agency has already implemented a 5- year export strategy in line with the country’ National Development Plan II and the National Export Development Strategy, which will help define the institution’s framework to support exports.
The annual President’s Export Award ceremony aims at awarding companies and individuals who have engaged and excelled in exporting.
It provides for three main categories of awards namely; the Platinum award, the Gold award and the Silver Award.
During the ceremony, special awards were also given to the Woman exporter of the year, Regional exporter of the year and Embassy of the year. Uganda’s embassy in Abu Dhabi won the Embassy of the year award.
The Overall Winner of the President’s Export Award 2017 was Hima Cement Limited which scooped the Platinum Award.
Friday, January 19, 2018
BY DOREEN NASASIRA