President Yoweri Museveni has said that Shs1trillion of the Shs1.9trillion loan obtained from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will be injected in the Uganda Development Bank (UDB), to enhance the country’s production capacity.
Museveni said Uganda has enough raw materials to feed industries for the production of commodities rather than continue relying heavily on imports, which he said were unsettling the economy, especially during a crisis, like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Early in May, the IMF approved US419.5$ (Shs1.9trillion) for Uganda under the Rapid Credit Facility to address the ‘urgent balance of payments and fiscal needs’ arising from the COVID-19 outbreak.
President Museveni while commissioning Lida Packaging products, a manufacturing company that has started producing face masks in Mbalala, Mukono District, said the IMF portion of the loan will be used to support the manufacturing sector as the best way of balancing payments.
“I cannot borrow money to import more so the Shs1trillion of that loan from IMF has been put in Uganda Development Bank (UDB) for us to enhance our capacity to produce more. This is what I told the IMF boss Tao Zhang in Washington DC,” President Museveni said.
“We have the capacity to produce many things here because most of the raw materials are here. People in the west have bananas (embide) we can use to produce alcohol, this same alcohol that has been killing you is the same we are using to produce the sanitizer which is now helping us fight coronavirus. So from killing you to now saving you. This is the kind of production we can enhance,” adding “I appeal to local businessmen to use this opportunity to borrow this money from UDB and set up more plants to produce more here. This money is yours,” he said, adding, that the government would protect local producers by imposing a heavy tax levy on similar products that are imported into the Ugandan market.
Uganda’s economy is expected to grow at 3per cent this year, a huge cut from the pre-pandemic projection of above 6 percent. Businesses that have been adversely affected need government support to get back to normal workings.
The president hinted that Uganda has been producing so much sugar due to the ample availability of sugarcane (ebikadho) in Eastern Uganda. He, however, called upon manufacturers and investors to use the excess sugar as raw material to manufacture more products.
He further assured investors both local and foreign that the issues of electricity have long been sorted.
“We have so much electricity now, that will never be an issue again and it should not bother you.”
Speaking at the same event, Ms Evelyn Anite, the minister for investment and privatization commended the president for supporting Ugandan businessmen through UDB.
“Your excellence, right now if you go to UDB, you will see very long queues of Ugandan businessmen borrowing money. This is because of your visionary leadership. The issues of electricity and security are no more,’ she said.
She also said that Uganda’s production level in masks has ensured export of 50,000 masks to neighboring Kenya, urging for more production internally.
Lida Packaging Company chairman Mr. Li Shiqing requested the President to protect local manufacturers under the BUBU policy by imposing import duty.
The company already employs 315 Ugandans, 220 of whom are women, and has a production capacity of 560,00 masks a single day. They also specialize in non-woven fabrics, plastic packaging products, woven bags, and other packaging products.