President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on Friday with officials from the Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) at State House, Entebbe, to discuss strategies for revitalizing the country’s textile industry as a key driver of economic growth.

During the meeting, President Museveni emphasized the importance of protecting and developing the local textile sector. He highlighted recent measures such as imposing taxes on textile imports to encourage local manufacturing.

“We need to find the best ways to keep out foreign textiles and boost our own production,” he said, addressing the challenges faced by local manufacturers.

“I need your opinion on the little war we have been having with importers. These government people woke up and put a tax on textiles, a percentage on the weight (kilograms); that is because we want to shut out foreign textiles.”

Deo Kayemba, UMA’s Board Chairman, thanked President Museveni for his continued support for local manufacturing. He pointed out that currently, only 10% of Uganda’s cotton undergoes value addition, a figure UMA aims to significantly increase. “First and foremost, UMA is strongly ready to support primary industries like textiles. Uganda produces 150,000 bales of cotton, and out of this, only 10 percent gets value addition and is exported. The remaining 90 percent is left as raw cotton. From the 10 percent where we add value, we earn $50 million. If we added value to the 90 percent, this industry would transform this country,” he said.

Kayemba noted that the manufacturing sector employs around 1 million people directly and 4.5 million indirectly, contributing significantly to the economy. He added that manufacturers consume 70 percent of Uganda’s electricity, with a peak demand of 1,000 megawatts. He shared UMA’s commitment to advancing Uganda’s economic goals, including the ambitious target of expanding the economy from USD 55 billion to USD 500 billion.

“UMA aims to significantly boost local production, create jobs, and enhance Uganda’s global competitiveness in the textile market,” he noted.

The meeting was also attended by the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Hon. Matia Kasaija; the Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Hon. Mwebesa Francis, the Minister of State for Industry, Hon. David Bahati; the Minister of State for Trade, Gen. Wilson Mbasu Mbadi; the Minister of State for Investment and Privatization, Hon. Evelyn Anite and Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Commissioner General, John Musinguzi, among others.

Monica Mbabazi

Monica Mbabazi is a celebrated multimedia Ugandan Journalist currently working as a news anchor on Top Radio and BTM Television. She is also a writer with Plus News Uganda.

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