Harriet Ntabaazi, the State Minister for Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives, has called upon Ugandan manufacturers to enhance the quality of their products to meet international standards. She emphasized the importance of this for Uganda’s standing in the global market and its economic growth.
During the closure of the 29th annual Uganda Manufacturers’ Association (UMA) exhibition and trade fair in Lugogo, Ntabaazi addressed a total of 1,018 exhibitors, including 898 local manufacturers. She shared news about successful government negotiations with international markets, stressing that high-quality products from Ugandan manufacturers are essential for these trade agreements to thrive.
“In the global marketplace, quality is our passport. We have already established a foundation for international trade, but our product quality must match our ambitions,” she stated. Ntabaazi highlighted the potential of the East African Community (EAC) as a significant opportunity for manufacturers to prosper and encouraged them to focus on producing high-quality local products.
“While we acknowledge the challenges within the East African community, it is a crucial avenue for expanding your business. The EAC is here to facilitate your access to a broader market. Let us not jeopardize these opportunities by producing subpar goods that lack international appeal,” Ntabaazi emphasized. In addition to quality, she stressed the importance of quantity to meet local, regional, and international market demands.
She pointed out that a shortage in supply can hinder trade processes and potentially impede Uganda’s economic development goals. To ensure the quality of agricultural products, particularly cereals, in the region, the minister unveiled the government’s latest initiative: an export quality assurance center in Matugga.
This facility will meticulously inspect and verify the quality of products before export. Deo Kayemba, Chairperson of the UMA Board of Directors, expressed concerns about trade barriers within the EAC, including domestic taxes, levies, and non-tariff barriers imposed by some EAC partner states.
“These barriers weaken the region’s economic performance and hinder the spirit of cooperation the community aspired to achieve. Despite efforts to streamline trade among EAC countries, some members have not acted in accordance with the protocol. These unfavorable trade barriers harm not only the manufacturing industry but also the cooperative spirit the EAC was meant to embody,” Kayemba lamented.
Recent data from the Ministry of Finance indicates that in June, Uganda imported goods worth USD 898.0 million and exported products worth USD 650.57 million, resulting in a trade deficit of USD 247.43 million. The call for improved product quality, quantity, and adherence to international standards represents a significant step forward for Ugandan manufacturers as they work towards securing their place in the international market and driving economic growth.