The Executive Director Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) Jolly Kaguhangire has told artisans engaged in carpentry work to work towards improving the quality of their products so as to expand their market.
She advised them to not only target Ugandan clientele but to produce furniture that meets international standards.
Kaguhangire was Wednesday visiting Nsambya Carpentry and Crafts Development Association (NSACADA), an umbrella of about 150 firms and individuals that are involved in manufacturing furniture products in Nsambya.
Formed in 2007 as a community based organization, NSACADA is part of the many clusters that UIA has supported by linking them to experts for training on skills and book keeping among others.
She commended the cluster for being active emphasizing the critical role played by such artisanal work in economic development through creation of jobs for the youth.
“Our target as UIA is to create one million jobs in the next 5 years. And there’s no better way to create those jobs than through entrepreneurial work like carpentry and crafts,” Kaguhangire said.
“This cluster is labour intense and if we get many more of such, we shall achieve our target. On our part as UIA, we will support by attracting foreign direct investment,” she noted.
Of the total membership in NSACADA, 46% are aged between 15 and 25 while 40% are aged between 25 and 45, which implies that majority are young people.
She however added: “You are not going to be looking at the Ugandan market alone. Be mindful of every product that you make and ensure that you panel beat it to create high quality products.”
“Africa is chanced because unlike the developed countries, we still have the comparative advantage of raw materials. Government is always looking for market for Ugandan products out there. So, utilize the opportunity, aim high to see that you meet international standards.”
Kaguhangire noted that government could explore the possibility of inviting some foreign manufacturers to set up shop in Uganda in order to reduce the costs that local manufacturers incur while importing materials.
Earlier, Aloysius Asiimwe the NSACADA Vice Secretary had made requests to UIA including; acquisition of land in the Namanve Industrial Park, modern equipment for value addition and supporting members to attain skills trainings in China.
The group also needs a soft loan to acquire a property in Nsambya which is currently their rented showroom.
Kaguhangire promised to make an effort to avail up to 3 acres from the land unutilized by investors in the Namanve Industrial Park.
She tipped the group against getting hefty loans but instead advised them to consider getting foreign partners who are often willing to provide venture capital and share in on the profit.