As the PSFU, what is your general view about Buy Uganda Build Uganda?
This is a policy that comes to enhance private sector capacities to produce and supply quality products and services that meet the minimum expected standards on the market. Such products will compete better as they gain increased access to markets here and abroad.
What major opportunities does BUBU present to Uganda’s private sector?
There are many. In addition to providing expanded and sustainable local markets, the policy aims to build private sector capacity to create jobs, enhance competitiveness and broaden Uganda’s tax base. This will help us reduce the tax burden as well.
How ready is the Private Sector in terms of capacity to optimally produce goods to support implementation of this policy?
Private Sector capacities are still dismal. However, we expect that as implementation takes root, we shall consolidate our efforts especially in areas that spell Uganda’s competitive advantage. The areas would target all sectors including agriculture, industry or manufacturing, logistics, general trade, information technology and others.
Can pick out some of the threats to the BUBU policy and how best these can be addressed for it to achieve results?
The biggest weakness we have is the mindset of Ugandans towards goods made in Uganda. We need to double our efforts in awareness creation, training, sensitisation, communication and finalization of the law to enforce this policy.
How best should the policy be implemented by Government?
Government can leverage its already existing policies and programmes to support the implementation of the BUBU policy. Guidelines can quickly be issued for procurement and disposal units together with accounting officers to start prioritising Ugandan made goods once they meet the requisite market standards. Agencies such as Police, the Army, government-owned schools and others must be encouraged to start buying locally-made goods. Government is also urged to have the BUBU law passed plus the local content regulations. This will go a long way in supporting proper implementation of the policy.
How do you respond to those who argue that this policy violates the EAC Common Market protocol, which calls for free movement of goods?
One can only take advantage of the expansive markets in East Africa Community, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and if they can penetrate and compete on their own markets.This is why we have the Kenyan – Buy Kenya Build Kenya, the BUBU in Uganda and Buy Rwanda Build Rwanda in Rwanda. Only until these are effective, can we have Buy East Africa Build East Africa. It will require efforts of everyone to see us achieving these policy objectives.
Others say, the policy is discriminating foreign manufactured goods yet, we are operating in one global village. What is your comment?
BUBU does not at all seek to protect Ugandan products from foreign competition. It seeks to promote them instead. This will include building local capacities (volumes, standards, quality) to be able to compete with goods imported from elsewhere.
How would a better economy connect with the BUBU policy?
Once local value chains are built as a result of the assured markets, then we will increase our capacity to expand investments, increase output, create more jobs, increase exports and grow the economy.This is how it all builds up.
From the private sector angle, what is your reading about the future of the BUBU policy?
The policy can only make meaning now and in the future if we have total buy-in from the citizens and leadership at all levels of Government and the Private Sector. It must be supported to work. We believe the future for this policy is bright. It will not only benefit those implementing it but the entire economy will gain.