URA’s Commissioner General for Customs, Dickson Kateshumbwa has urged manufacturers and new investors to utilize services of professional and recognized providers such as clearing agents, transporters and tax advisors for thriving of industrial sector provision of mass employment for the young generation.
In the 2017/18 financial year, Uganda’s exports to the East African Community (EAC) grew by 32 per cent. From these, Uganda earned Shs 4.1 Trillion compared to imports from EAC, which grew by about eight per cent amounting to Shs 2.2 Trillion.
In the past, he said they witnessed a disturbing trend-investors are misled or misadvised and by the time management is informed, a lot of frustration has been encountered. Instead of driving them to Uganda, the transporter took the trucks in the garage for service and repair. Eventually, some took 13 days and others 21 days to reach Malaba, a journey that would ordinarily take a maximum of three days with the recent innovations in clearance.
“Imports (and some exports) are currently cleared under the under Single Customs Territory (SCT). To ensure efficiency, they have over 20 Officers in Mombasa, Nairobi, Kisumu, Eldoret and Dar es Salaam for purposes of facilitating quick clearance of imports and exports,” he said
Kateshumbwa says sustained growth in industrialization avails opportunities of skills transfer to Ugandan workers, which can later be applied in small industries manufacturing smaller goods.
“Industrialization will not only save on the huge import bill but create mass employment opportunities and benefit from the trickle-down effect in the production supply chain,” he said giving an example in the previous financial year, Uganda imported tiles worth about US$24m which could have been saved.
He said to facilitate industrialization, Government has introduced numerous tax policy incentives such as the Build Uganda Buy Uganda policy. However, for all these efforts to succeed, as Ugandans we must be patriotic and avoid undermining locally made items.
Some people however bend on excuse of quality, Kateshumbwa said, locally manufactured products will get better with increased demand and competition.
The manufacturer of high quality tiles in Kapeeka producing about 30,000 square meters of tiles per day. All these are produced using locally sourced raw materials, the country will save this foreign exchange. Ultimately, this benefits the entire supply chain-from suppliers of the raw materials, the transporters, employees, distributers and the Government.