By David Mugabe and Prossy Nanduttu
The Uganda Manufacturer’s Association (UMA) has commended the UPDF for their efforts in trying to stabilise South Sudan, saying it will protect their business interests and consumers.
Traders have counted losses in billions of shillings as merchandise movement ground to a halt due to insecurity in South Sudan.
Amos Nzeyi, the UMA chairman, advised traders to take advantage of the war and plant food crops that will be sold to South Sudan once the war ends. There is, however, no timeline on when the war will end.
South Sudan is one of Uganda’s biggest markets for both agriculture and manufactured commodities.
But this has come under serious threat because of the crisis, with analysts saying the UPDF presence has somewhat stabilised what would have been a “completely hopeless situation.”
State minister for investment Gabriel Ajedra recently said Uganda has lost close to sh2b since war broke out in South Sudan between the government and rebels loyal to former vice-president, Dr. Riek Machar.
Ugandan manufacturers are also appealing to the Buganda Kingdom to give them more land to accommodate the increasing number of manufacturers to respond to the growth in the industrial sector that stands at 25%.
“The industry is growing faster than anticipated, we are seeing demand for commodities around the region and our members are already exporting in these countries, so we have to manufacture more and yet the space is not enough,” said Nzeyi.
The Katikiro of Buganda, Charles Peter Mayiga, said land housing Kigo Prisons could be appropriate for industrial development, adding that the same piece of land has generated interest from many people, including real estate developers.
“We shall have to work out a strategic plan, which, if it meets interests of manufactures and Buganda, then land is available,” said Mayiga.
He explained that manufacturers play a vital role in the development of a country through provision of employment and revenues for reinvestment.
Mayiga was speaking while receiving a cheque of sh50m from the manufacturers towards the reconstruction of Kasubi tombs.