Werikhe noted that Uganda’s economy is heavily dependent on imports and import demand still big, despite the progress made to narrow it in the recent past.
The state minister for industry, Michael Werikhe, has called upon Ugandan cosmetics manufacturers to seize trade opportunities with in the East Africa region and other global markets, to increase visibility of local brands in global markets.
According to Werikhe, this would also multiply Uganda's export volumes and level the balance of trade, which currently stands at a deficit of more than $3b (5.697 trillion).
"These products are globally competitive in quality, but if we do not market them at the global level, we shall continue to lose as government and as individual manufacturers," he said.
This was on the side-lines of his tour of the Radiant cosmetics manufacturers premises at the UMA show grounds, Lugogo recently.
Werikhe noted that Uganda's economy is heavily dependent on imports and import demand still big, despite the progress made to narrow it in the recent past.
"Therefore, if we are to achieve sustainable growth and development and structural transformation in Uganda, we must strengthen our external performance," he said
He also emphasized the need for trade facilitation for Ugandan SMEs, noting that majority collapse due to skilling and market gaps.
He said trade facilitation is particularly significant in supporting investment and business growth across the various sectors of the economy, as Uganda looks towards achieving a middle income economy status by 2020.
"SMEs such as this one constitute a big percentage of our private sector and it's now time to facilitate them to expand to bigger markets through creation of partnerships and adding money to their businesses," Werikhe said.
According to the 2015 Global Entrepreneurs Monitor (GEM) report, Uganda had the best entrepreneurship growth rate at 28%, although more than half of the businesses started don't live to celebrate their first anniversary.
According to the corporate relations manager, Radiant cosmetics, Ibrahim Karemera, SMEs in Uganda are faced with a number of obstacles that limit their competitiveness.
He cited the high electricity tariffs, exorbitant tax regimes, skills gaps and the numerous barriers to accessing regional and global markets.
"As government we shall support any initiatives to solve this anomaly, and we already have a fully constituted department in the ministry to support SME competitiveness," Werikhe said.