President Yoweri Museveni has warned ministries and government agencies to desist from lavish and inconsiderate spending while carrying out procurement of essential government stores like furniture.
Mr Museveni said this while presiding over the official opening ceremony of the Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) 24th Uganda International Trade Fair (UGTIF) at the Lugogo show grounds, running from October 2-10, a day after Uganda’s 54th Independence Anniversary.
According to Mr Museveni, there are several products made in Uganda that can favourably compete with the imported ones.
“Uganda Prisons makes very good furniture. I will not tolerate any government department that imports furniture from China,” Mr Museveni said, adding: “I’m wearing an army uniform made by Nytil (Picfare, a local garment manufacturer). I don’t want to hear of importation of army and nurses’ uniforms anymore.
Mr Museveni also assured the nation that he would ensure the cost of electricity in the country decreases from seven to one shilling for the benefit of manufacturers, adding that Uganda has enough electricity to satisfy its manufacturing processes.
“We have enough power for manufacturers. What we don’t have is enough power for ‘ebikeesa’ (discotheques) and pastors who conduct the business during the night,” Mr Museveni said, adding however, that manufacturers should exploit night time and use electricity when it is surplus and cheaper.
The president also talked about the bailout of businesspersons, saying government will only bail out those who export to ‘risky external markets’.
This year’s trade fair is being attended by hundreds of exhibitors drawn from countries in the region including Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda, among others.
The best woman exhibitor was Lydia Nakigwa of Rwanda, who won the best country pavilion, best private exhibitor was Sulfo products of Rwanda, best small scale industries was Aloesha products, while the best foreign exhibitor trophy went to Sulfo Products of Rwanda.
Movit products of Uganda emerged overall best exhibitor.