The President said that the government recapitalized UDB to the tune of one trillion Ugandan Shillings, with more funding expected to come from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to increase access to credit among Ugandan entrepreneurs.
President Yoweri Museveni has told Ugandans to borrow from Uganda
Development Fund (UDB) and invest in import substitution projects.
The President said that the government recapitalized UDB to the
tune of one trillion Ugandan Shillings, with more funding expected to come from
the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to increase access to credit among Ugandan entrepreneurs.
President Museveni said that since the 1960s', Ugandan planners were told to build local capacity to produce many of the things the
country imports but that came to nought because the economic argument for long has
been in favour of excessive importation of products.
According to the President, while the importation of products is
not necessarily bad because it encourages trading and cooperation among
countries, Uganda, like many African countries, has for far too long been
importing things that it should be produced locally, describing the trend as “the
sickness of Africa”.
He reiterated that it is unhealthy for a country to
import everything without taking into account its own comparative advantage in
the production of the very products it imports. He added that the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the
challenges it poses has woken up Ugandans and Africans to the fact that there
are many products they have been importing that in real sense they should be
The President cited how Ugandans are now not only producing sanitizers
and face masks but actually exporting to the region within a very short time,
in addition to other products like food and sugar. He said Uganda has raw
materials for most of the products she imports.
He was speaking at the commissioning of Lida
Packaging Products Ltd., one of the five manufacturers of
medical and non-medical face masks that have been certified by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards
(UNBS) and the National Drug Authority (NDA). The company located
in Mbalala, Mukono District. Lida produces 52,000 face masks daily.
The chief executive of Lida Packaging Products Ltd., John
Lee said in order to combat COVID-19, he partnered with industrialist Paul
Zhang, who runs the Uganda-Sino Mbale Industrial Park, and prominent Ugandan
businessman, Patrick Bitature, to set up the five-million-dollar factory to
produce high-quality face masks at affordable prices. The face masks trade as Lida. The non-medical face masks are
three-ply with the inner ply being a waterproof material. The medical face
masks are four-ply and all waterproof.
Lee said that currently, they are producing 52,000 non-medical
face masks daily from two production lines, a number that will increase to
560,000 face masks daily once two additional production lines are completed in
about two weeks’ time. He added that plans are also underway to start
production of 50,000 surgical masks known as KN-95 daily.
The Minister of State for Investment and Privatisation,
Evelyne Anite said the country has woken up with a big interest in
manufacturing, noting that 105 companies are now manufacturing sanitizers
Anite said Lida Packaging Products Ltd. heeded the
President’s call for local production of face masks, noting that since the outbreak of COVID-19 Uganda imported four billion face masks, hence donating
millions of dollars abroad.
The Chinese Ambassador to Uganda, Zheng ZhuQiang, said the
face mask factory has come in time because it will boost the government’s efforts
to provide face masks to all Ugandans. He said the COVID-19 pandemic is an enemy to
all of humanity hence the need to fight it collectively, citing how many
Ugandan people and institutions, like Makerere University, actually donated
face masks to China when it was being hit hard by the virus.