By George Mangula

Over 3000 local exhibitors are expected to participate at the first ever Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) expo, according to the Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives (MTIC) Amelia Kyambadde who addressed journalists at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala.

The three-day exhibition to take place at Kololo Airstrip that runs from March 7-9, 2019 aims at promoting goods and services produced within Uganda.

Participants at the expo will include government ministries, departments and agencies, private sector institutions like manufacturers, schools hospitals universities, banks, and individual consumers. However, there is no compromise on standards and availability.

According to Kyambadde, the BUBU Policy under which the expo is organised, is the only way that can ensure that Ugandans produce and develop their own country like it has happened in the western world as well as neighbouring countries like Kenya.

The event is organised under a Private Public Partnership between MTIC and Investment Review Publications, aimed at promoting BUBU by: Promoting local content, encouraging and building patriotism in the general public and enhancing networking and coordination around the BUBU policy.

Minister Kyambadde said Ugandans must produce good quality products and formalize their businesses if they are to benefit from BUBU Policy.

Kyambadde days ago officially launched the BUBU Logo, Online Marketing Platform (Soko Uganda) at the Media Center to kick-start activities to promote the event, sensitize and educate the public about the policy and how the event will benefit participants, the general public and the country at large.

Some highlights as regards BUBU policy

Textiles: Uganda produces 216,000 pairs of shoes by 16,200 enterprises. Over 80% of local demand for textile products is met through imports of which over 60% is second hand shoes.

There are 14 pharmaceutical companies in Uganda of which 13 produce human medicines and one manufactures animal medicine (Eramu Uganda). The 13 pharmaceutical industries can only meet 20% of the demand while the one manufacturing veterinary medicines is able to meet 1% of the demand.

Uganda’s tea production between 2015 and 2016 dropped from 58,588,208 kilogrammes to 39,298,960 kilogrammes. This was partly because there is no substantial domestic market for Uganda’s tea in spite of its international renown high quality. 7 per cent is consumed domestically.

Tanning: There are eight tanneries which produce 2476 tonnes of wet blue leather per month. There is need for a domestic market to induce the tanneries to invest in the making of leather products like bags, belts, shoes, jackets etc.

There are a total of 27 plastics industries that manufacture all types of plastics. However, the country still imports plastics from both within the EAC and outside the EAC region.

Uganda and Ethiopia are the leading coffee producers of coffee in Africa. Uganda consumes only 3 per cent of its coffee as opposed to 50 per cent by Ethiopia. The high consumption rate by Ethiopia has stimulated the creation of many jobs in Ethiopia unlike in Uganda. By drinking just 10 per cent more of the coffee produced in Uganda, Uganda could add Shs7.7 trillion (US $2.3 billion) per year to the national economy, according to Inspire Africa.

In 2015, the import bill for poultry meat was higher than exports by US$ 3.06 million while the import bill for eggs was US $665 million higher than exports.

Within the first five years of implementing BUBU, government hopes to achieve;

20 per cent of government procurement by value should be of local products and services.

50 per cent of shelf space in supermarkets should be populated by local products.

All Ministries, Departments and Agencies strictly abide by Public Procurement Disposal of Public Assets (PPDA) Amendment Act during procurement processes.

50 per cent of local products conform to national standards.

50 per cent local resources and raw materials utilized in production.

Increased production due to increased domestic market

Increased Gross Domestic Product.

Increased employment due to increased production.

Substantial reduction in trade deficit.

Increased exportation of value added products, among other benefits.