Kampala, Uganda; Government has launched the strategic plans for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) amidst complaints of neglect by the MSMEs.
The MSMEs addressed their concerns during a presser held at the SEATINI offices in Kampala. Their complaints regarding failure by the government to support them add value to their products and boost exports came in handy ahead of the 9th Annual Sector Trade Review that was held at Hotel Africana on Wednesday.
Africa Kiiza, the Programme Officer, Trade Policies and Negotiations, at the South and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiation Institute (SEATINI-Uganda) observed the concerns of the MSMEs to meet the competitiveness challenge and have exports increases were not being addressed by government.
He said the MSMEs account for 90% of Uganda’s private sector and employs over 2.5 million Ugandans, and contributes to 18% of the GDP.
“As Civil Society, we call upon the government of Uganda through the relevant ministries and Departments to tackle the challenges of Agro-based MSMEs for their competitiveness and National Export Development,” said Kiiza.
TRADE MINISTER INTERVENES
At the 9th Annual Trade sector review, Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives Minister, Amelia Kyambadde lashed out at his technocrats for not doing much to help the MSMEs. “You are not on the ground. These people (MSMEs) don’t know you and what you are doing, please come forward and explain to them what your role is where they can find you,” she said. She said with the launch of the MSMEs strategic planning, she doesn’t need any more sluggishness from the technical personnel regarding helping MSMEs add value to their products
EXPORTS ON THE RISE
Exports for the financial year 2017/18 increased by 7.23% to USD$ 2.89M, Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives Minister, Amelia Kyambadde said on Tuesday.
Amelia was speaking at this year’s 9th Annual Trade Sector Review Conference held at Hotel Africana in Kampala.
But the fight to increase exports and reduce on imports is still on as she announced that the imports increased by 16.42% to USD 5, 489.97million. Uganda imported items worth the US $ 4, 715.51 million in the year 2016/17.
She said Uganda continues to experience a gradual increase in exports to the COMESA trading bloc. “We also registered a record surplus in the EAC region of US$ 413.86 million (exports of US$ 1,220.63 million against imports of US$ 806.77 million,” said Hon. Amelia. She noted that this was made possible due to the good integrated and multilateral efforts spearheaded by her ministry in the region.
She, however, expressed worries, that much as the trade in the region had increased tremendously, the trade deficit with Tanzania decreased drastically to the tune of US$ 44.21 million.
Kenya and South Sudan topped the COMESA pack in taking Uganda exports representing 63.34% (US$ 939.81 million).
Amelia also named UAE, DR Congo, Rwanda, Netherlands, USA, Sudan, and Hongkong as other trading partners.
“The total value of imports in 2017/18 was worth US$ 4, 697.63 million showing an increase of 20.08% with mainly machinery equipment, vehicles and Accessories topping the pack,” she said.
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