President Yoweri Museveni’s year-long Import Substitution, Export Promotion gospel has started to take root, albeit at modest rate.
In the last 12 months since the President embarked on a public condemnation the country’s low exports and excessive importation, the exports have grown by 16%, according to a Bank of Uganda Report.
This year’s Monetary Statement read of Friday by the Central Bank Governor Prof Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, also revealed that Uganda’s Trade balance improved by 26.8 per cent from a deficit of USD1,921 million to USD 1,405.4 million in the same period.
“Exports increased by 16 per cent from USD 2,690.2 million in the twelve months to May 2016 to USD 3,121.9 million in twelve months to May 2017,” Mutebile said.
“On the other hand, imports of goods (FOB) declined by 1.8 per cent from USD 4,611.2 million to USD 4,527.4 million in the same period.”
The report however, shows that Ugandans to continue largely import goods for consumption rather than production.
Expenditure on imports for consumption increased by 6.1 per cent while capital and intermediate goods’ imports declined by 3.0 per cent in the last 12 months.
This trend has repeatedly been admonished by President Yoweri Museveni, who in the May 2016 State of the Nation Address suggested a gradual ban on the importation of cars.
Revealing that he was in talks with regional leaders on setting up a car plant, Museveni said, “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.”
The President stressed, “We cannot continue running a Supermarket for foreign products and call it a country”
Since 2016, the president has actively engaged in supporting local companies and youth groups, to start manufacturing products that are mostly imported.
Recently he promised to take a group of carpenters working in Mulago for training in China.
Bank of Uganda in today’s report attributed the spike in exports, to higher coffee exports last year.
Receipts from coffee exports increased by 29.5 per cent from USD 360.8 million to USD 467.4 million, as a result of an increase in the volume and price of coffee exported.
The volume of coffee exported during the twelve months to May 2017 increased by 395.2 (60Kg) bags to 4,023.9 (60kg) bags, while the price increased to USD 1.92 from USD 1.65 per kg.
On the other hand, the 1.8% decline in imports (to USD 4,527.3 million), was attributed to a decline in government imports.
The report showed that Government expenditure on import of goods decreased by 43.0 per cent to USD 280.2million from USD 491.9 million in the twelve months to May 2016.
President last year 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.”
Expenditure on private sector imports of goods (excluding non-monetary gold) decreased only marginally by 0.3 per cent to USD 3,913.1 million, driven by decreased expenditure on non-oil imports.