Angry Museveni Bans Importation of Clothes, Cars

Museveni said Uganda is importing excessively

President Yoweri Museveni has decried Uganda’s continued importation of foreign made goods, more about for which he attributed the country’s slow economic progress.

During Tuesday’s State of the Nation Address at the Kampala Serena Conference Center, the president sounded irritated by the rate at which Uganda is spending billions of dollars in importation yet earning incredibly little through her exports.

Describing this as an unacceptable hemorrhage, the President said that this rate of importation would have to be stopped progressively.

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“We cannot continue running a Supermarket for foreign products and call it a country,” vowed the President before the 450 strong 10th Parliament, several government heads and foreign delegates. “We must become a country that manufactures its own goods where we have competitive advantage.”

Uganda, he noted, currently spends up to USD 5.5Billion (about UGX 20 Trillion) on imports majorly textiles, leather products, second hand cars, carpets among others.

On the other hand, the country earns only USD 600Million from its exports to the European Union, India, South Africa, UAE, and China where it spends $5.5 Billion on importation.  This Museveni said was unacceptable.

As such the president announced that Uganda will not be importing any more uniforms for its security organs and other government bodies.

“All Government institutions without exception must buy locally made products,” he announced. “All uniforms for the army, police, the Prisons, Uganda Wild Life Authority and Medical Personnel must be bought locally. Also boots, boats, headdresses, and jackets must not be imported.”

The President also announced a gradual ban on importation of cars, and revealed that he is already in talks with regional leaders to bolster the car assembly industry in the region.

“We have found that it is 25% cheaper to assemble a car here than to import a finished one. Car parts are easier and cheaper to transport while whole cars occupy more space on the ship.”

This he said, will not only reduce on the “hemorrhage,” but also create more jobs for Ugandan youths, rather than providing jobs for foreigners where the country imports from.

In Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa, Museveni observed that they have managed to create up to 150,000 jobs by merely allowing only locally assembled vehicles in the country.

The ban on imported cars, textiles and other goods Museveni said however, will not be implemented in one year, but in phases, “ but must be triggered immediately.” He added that he is already in talks with local importers on this matter.

Museveni, whose NRM government has been in power for 30years said he could have implemented these radical steps in the past but the environment then was not conducive.

“Now we have 5000kilometers of tarmac roads compared to 1000km in 1986, most of which needed repairs. We are producing 860 megawatts of electricity and we are soon adding another 1000MW which will be much cheaper.”

As a result he said, investors will be easier to lure into the country and that the balance of trade will be bettered.



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