Rt. Hon. Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga says Parliament will fast track the passing of the Local Content Bill into law with the aim of protecting local industries.
Kadaga said that some provisions of this law were inserted in the petroleum laws but the persons concerned ignored it. She added that with the new law, there will be restrictions on what can be imported.
“We cannot have everything imported; we cannot import beef from Brazil, import tomatoes from South Africa; the Local content law will be used to have our own people benefit,” she said.
The Rt. Hon. Speaker made these remarks at the 10th Eastern Region Trade Fair organised by the Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) at the Mbale Municipal Stadium, Monday, 05 June 2017.
Kadaga said that she supports local content adding that it should be a priority as it is in other countries.
Hon. Patrick Nsamba (Kasanda North) in February moved a Motion and was granted leave of Parliament to introduce a Private Member’s Bill titled “The Local Content Bill, 2017”. The Local Content Bill, 2017 seeks to provide for the establishment of a national Local Content Committee, the maximization of value-addition and job creation through the use of local expertise; goods and services; businesses and financing in all undertakings where public funds are used; or where the undertaking is a licensable activity; the development of local content plans and the supervision, coordination, monitoring and implementation of local content.
Kadaga applauded the manufacturers for investing in the country and creating employment pledging to have their tax complaints handled by the relevant committees of Parliament.
“We need to have a meeting about the issues of taxation. Please have your views presented early such that when the budget proposals come, we chart a way forward so that taxes are handled to stimulate and not stifle the economy,” Kadaga added.
The Speaker also called for further negotiations with neighbouring countries so that they remove the non-tax barriers that continue to affect trading with them.
Dr Maggie Kigozi, who represented the Chairperson of UMA, encouraged the consumers of goods and services to promote local industries under the ‘Buy Uganda Build Uganda’ (BUBU) initiative.
“When you go to a shop and find foreign and local products, please buy local. BUBU means government will buy from you, local manufacturers and consumers will buy from you too,” she added.
The former Chairperson of the Uganda Investment Authority added that as manufacturers, they are committed to protecting consumers by providing quality products.
The Mbale Municipality MP Hon. Jack Wamanga Wamai added that as MPs, they are committed to ensuring that the local manufacturing sector is vibrant and continues to grow.
“As Parliament, we are doing our best to make sure that we have many goods made in Uganda. We are working on tax exemptions for some of the imported raw materials for your industries because we know you pay a lot of taxes,” Wamai pledged.
The trade fair attracted over 250 exhibitors from all sectors. The Manufacturers, under their umbrella body UMA, also renovated a ward in Mbale Regional Referral Hospital and donated some medical equipment as part of their corporate social responsibility.