Industry and Trade

Should the Shilling devalue by Shs500, more industries will not survive – UMA chairman

We have been pleading with government up to Cabinet level to capitalise Uganda Development Bank, but to date we are borrowing expensively from outside

It cannot get better than this with already the prevailing circumstances that are dragging the economy down, high interest rate will devastatingly kill many businesses. Already, partners of Uganda Manufacturers’ Association (UMA) have appealed to the government to keep its promise to capitalise Uganda Development Bank to save companies from closing down.

Speaking at the commissioning of a new electrical transformers manufacturing company in Kawempe on Friday, Mr Amos Nzeyi, the chairman UMA told Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde that many companies are closing down because of high interest rates, yet government a big consumer continues to import goods instead of buying them locally.

“ We have been pleading with government up to Cabinet level to capitalise Uganda Development Bank, but to date we are borrowing expensively from outside. Should the Shilling devalue by Shs500, more industries will not survive,” he said.

Citing a friend who found market for Ugandan coffee in Marks and Spencer but failed to run the business because of expensive borrowing from Crane Bank, Mr Nzeyi said government should learn from another businessman from Rwanda who also secured market for Rwanda’s coffee in Starbucks which has popularised Rwanda coffee because government has heavily subsidised the business which is now thriving very well.

Mr James Kalibala, the managing director of Electrical Controls and Switchgear, informed the Trade minister that when he was looking for money to finance his project, he found out that many companies are sinking financially because of high interest rates which forced him to seek for cheaper financing from the Belgium Investment Organisation who offered better interest rates.

“ We have challenges of the high cost of business finance, lack of skilled labour locally, and even when we send them to train abroad; we are charged VAT for training them. We have to send our products abroad to determine their quality,” he said, stressing that government must listen to the cries of manufacturers.

Officiating at the function, Ms Kyambadde told manufacturers to stop crying the way they do because her interactions with other Africa ministers of Trade reveal Uganda has a strong private sector on the continent because most African economies depend on their governments.

“ For Uganda to manufacture transformers is a very big achievement we should celebrate because it is in line with the Build Uganda Buy Uganda policy so that we do not have to import these products to use in homes and industries,” she said.

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