The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has called on government to provide a conducive environment that will encourage local investment.
Kadaga noted that Uganda has abundant raw materials required for the manufacture of various products but added that the prices were at times prohibitive to the local investors.
“In the last two weeks I met a girl, a local manufacturer of leather and is struggling with raw material. She travels to Kenya to buy leather because here it is very expensive,” said Kadaga adding that “She buys materials from Kenya, manufactures from here and exports to the USA.”
Speaker made the remarks at the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) Expo held at the Kololo independence grounds on Saturday March 9th, 2019.
The BUBU Expo is a government policy approved by Cabinet in 2014 “to promote consumption and procurement of goods and services produced locally.”
The Expo is intended to among others promote local content, encourage and build patriotism in general public and enhance networking and coordination around BUBU policy.
Kadaga called on government to support such local manufacturers to improve their quality and quantity.
“When we say liberalization, we do not mean that government should abdicate its responsibility entirely. Government should continue to support our people for instance in quality control,” she said.
Kadaga said that there is need to change the mind set of those managing the country if the BUBU concept is to take root.
“I am a big champion of BUBU but sometimes I get frustrated by managers in government who do not appreciate the policy,” she said.
Kadaga narrated how Parliament was frustrated when a member tabled a bill for a law aimed at encouraging local participation in the economy.
The Local Content Bill was intended to promote participation of Ugandans in the economy, to achieve inclusive economic transformation by ensuring maximization of value addition and job creation through the use of local expertise, goods, services, business and finances.
“When we brought the motion, people reported me and Parliament to the President that we want to disrupt investors. We told him that your business is the welfare of Uganda and asked him on when interests of Ugandans will be put first,” she said.
Kadaga said that government needed to look out for interests of Ugandans in the sectors of mining, tourism and banking.