Uganda saw a 42.5 percent increase in export receipts in the financial year 2022/23, reaching $5’456’99 million, up from $836.58 million in the previous fiscal year, according to the Macro and Fiscal Performance Report October 2023, published by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MOFED).
According to the report, surge was largely attributed to a resumption in gold exports which had temporarily been halted in FY 202L/22, pending negotiations between government and the gold industry stakeholders regarding the levies on gold exports.
During FY 2022/23, several of Uganda’s commodities showcased impressive performance. Earnings from maize exports experienced a significant leap, tripling to a record $182.18 million. “This success can be attributed to the easing of non-tariff barriers with Kenya and the reopening of the Uganda-Rwanda border, further bolstering trade relations. Additionally, commodities such as base metals, vanilla, tobacco, tea, fruits& vegetables and oil re-exports all registered increased earnings, reflecting the country’s diversified export strength,” says the report
The report says coffee, which is Uganda’s second largest export commodity, experienced a slight dip in earnings from $862.22 million in FY 2021/22 to $845.4 million in FY 2022/23, as coffee export volumes declined from 6.26 million bags (60 kg each) in FY 202L/22to 5.76 million bags (60 kg each) in FY 2022/23. “This was influenced by challenges such as drought, pest infestations, and diseases in robusta growing areas. Moreover, external factors, such as the unrest in Sudan and anticipated high coffee outputs from Brazil, also played roles,” says the report.
Destination of Uganda’s exports
The report says during the FY 2022/23, the East African Community (EAC) was the main destination of Uganda’s merchandise exports, followed by the Middle East, the European Union and Asia.
Exports to the Middle East amounted to $863.17 million for FY 2022/23, which represents a ten-fold growth from $88.30 million the previous Financial year. This increment follows the resumption of the exportation of gold, says the report.
Uganda’s exports to EAC partners accounted for 48.07 percent of overall exports, which was an increase from the previous year’s $2,252.34 billion to $2,622.71 billion. The Middle East bloc came in second with 15.79 percent, followed by the European Union and Asia which accounted for 14.37 percent, and 13.55 percent, respectively, of total exports.
Trade deficit widened
The merchandise trade deficit widened during the period under review as the growth in the import bill more than offset the increase in export receipts. Export receipts increased by $ 1.630.4’1. billion while the import bill increased by $1,735.15 billion, the report says
The merchandise trade deficit was recorded at $3,405.63 million in FY 2022/23, higher than the deficit of $3,300.12 million the previous financial year. While there was an expansion in the merchandise trade deficit, it was modest, largely due to effective export promotion initiatives.