By Nakamya Shamim
JINJA (UG): The President of Uganda, H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has banned taxes on timber imported into the country as raw materials as long as it is not produced here in a bold step to promote the local manufacturing industry.
The President who was addressing the 4th Bi-Annual Private Sector CEO Retreat on Thursday, August 03, at Kiira Motors Vehicle Plant in Jinja City reiterated his Executive Order No.3 which imposed a ban on timber and said that “nobody should export unprocessed timber.”
According to Mr Museveni, timber raw materials must come at a zero tax percentage, while intermediate materials used in manufacturing furniture there should come at 1 per cent if they are not making it by themselves.
The President therefore tasked Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja to get in touch with Chinese investors who are soon constructing cement factories in Nadunget near Moroto Airfield.
“But if we have it here, why do you undermine us and how about intermediate products like the steel billets? But we shall discuss all that. Rt Hon. Rebecca will follow it up and we shall discuss it,” Mr Museveni assured.
During the same retreat, the president also suggested that Uganda should also persuade the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to also ban the importation of timber to Uganda to make his exportation ban gain traction.
“Now when it is coming from Congo, I think we should also persuade our Congolese friends to make furniture because that will be a loophole. They will take out timber claiming that it’s coming from Congo. That lack of vision is what I cannot support. State House which we built in 2007, the furniture there is all imported, can you imagine? That is why I questioned the Comptroller who at that time was there asking how they could allow us to sit on imported furniture,” the President explained.
“You don’t make a plane, you don’t make a computer, you don’t make medicine, you can’t even make furniture, what do you do? What sort of people are these? Then you say, we are experts, experts of what? Ignorance?” Museveni wondered.
He said that is the reason why he cannot support the export of timber and the import of furniture. “Convert, the timber into furniture and export the furniture to those who don’t have trees. You can imagine people are importing furniture from Dubai, a desert,” Museveni noted on Thursday.
The meeting which was held under the theme: “Uganda’s Industrialization Agenda: Positioning Uganda as a net source of E-mobility Solutions in Africa”, was organised by the Presidential CEO of Forum.
PCF is a platform which was initiated by the President in order to gather private sectors to work with the government in strategic intervention-like advantages, like Kiira Motors, the National Planning Authority, and Ministerial agencies, among others.
Thursday’s retreat drew over 300 delegates such as Ministers, and senior civil servants in Ministries, Authorities and various sectors.