Entebbe, Uganda | JULIUS BUSINGE | Uganda’s local businesses have a reason to be optimistic about the future of doing business in the country in case the discussions that were held at the 5th Economic Forum organised by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) in Entebbe from July 19 -21 are to pass.
The forum was held under the theme; Uganda’s Economic Outlook: Bottlenecks and solutions, and attended by an estimated 250 people from across sectors.
One major topic discussed at the opening of the forum was; laying foundation for achieving middle income status by enhancing local content.
It was clear during the discussions that promoting local content through a legal framework and the policy of Buy Uganda Build Uganda would create more opportunities for new and old businesses in form of expanded markets, new sources of capital, and more contracts for companies involving huge development projects for government.
This opportunity would ultimately lead into more profits and jobs, boosting Uganda’s struggling economy.
Participants emphasised the need for government and its agencies to prioritise procurement of locally made products instead of imported ones.
They also called for more incentives for local firms to be able to build capacity for good technology, human resource base that would boost production and productivity.
Abdul Kasule, the assistant commissioner for domestic trade at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives said the government is committed to promoting BUBU and local content by effectively implementing their contents.
“Not every Ugandan product is inferior,” Kasule said, “Let’s embrace BUBU starting with ourselves.”
Kasule said BUBU would feed into the local content Act that is being prepared now as a Private Members Bill by Patrick Nsamba, the Member of Parliament for Kasanda North.
Nsamba shared one statistic that showed that for the last five years, companies from China, Israel, Portugal and South Korea had been contracted to do huge development projects at the expense of Ugandan firms that hardly got any contract.
China dominated with 91% of the share of the contracts followed by Israel and Portugues firms that shared 4% each. The balance was shared by other countries. “If you want to build capacity for local companies, you must begin by availing people with opportunities,” Nsamba said at the forum.