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THEME: "Uganda’s Industrialization Agenda"


The Presidential CEO Forum  convened the 4th Bi-annual Private Sector CEO Retreat from 2nd - 3rd August 2023 in KIIRA VEHICLE PLANT, JINJA , under the theme "Uganda’s Industrialization Agenda:
Positioning Uganda as a net source of E-mobility Solutions in Africa", hosted by H.E. the President of the Republic of Uganda

The fourth edition of the bi-annual CEO Retreat was convened by the Presidential CEO Forum together with the Office of the Prime Minister in collaboration with the Science, Technology and Innovation Secretariat, National Planning Authority, and Kiira Motors Corporation, on 2nd-3rd August 2023 under the theme, ‘Uganda’s Industrialization Agenda: Positioning Uganda as a net source of E-mobility Solutions in Africa’. Hosted at the Kiira Motors Corporation Vehicle Plant in Jinja, the 2day retreat was attended by 200 leaders of both the Private and Public Sectors including the Head of State, Prime Minister, various Cabinet Ministers, Heads of Government Agencies and Departments, Financial and Industry Experts, Business Development Heads and Chief Executive Officers from an assortment of local and international companies.
The meeting was single-minded in exploring the contributions that both the public and private sectors can make towards realising Uganda’s National Development Agenda through the development and commercialisation of the e-Mobility Sector; the success of which is dependent on the successful coordination of 6 clusters as follows:

  1.  Research, Development, Engineering and Manufacturing
  2. Energy
  3. Transport Planning, Management, Operations, Distribution & Support
  4. Value Chain Financing
  5. Policy, Regulations and Standards; and
  6. Digital Infrastructure and Industry 4.0+

That were reviewed and discussed in expert presentations, business perspectives, a discussion panel of industry experts, and a keynote address from the President of an established US vehicle manufacturer. On arrival at the Retreat, delegates were treated to a drive-by tour of the Vehicle Plant in a KMC electric bus; and were hosted to a cultural networking dinner at the end of day one, by His Royal Highness the Kyabazinga of Busoga, William Wilberforce Gabula Nadiope IV.

H.E the President opened his remarks by talking about his recent trips to Russia and Serbia where he’d pointed out in speeches that the whole of Africa today has a dismal GDP of just USD2.5Tn, smaller than the economies of India USD3.3Tn, Germany USD4Tn, Japan 4.2Tn, China USD 17Tn and the US of USD25Tn. He called this a big shame for African leaders and blamed it on the failure of past leaders to identify the economic dangers ahead, as they focused on identity politics. He reminded the audience that point five of the NRM 10-Point Program is building an independent, integrated and self-sustaining economy

He expounded that the Ugandan economy has been growing steadily, but a qualitative leap is required, through both vertical and horizontal integration. He gave the example of households that grow sour bananas (mabidde) for the brewing of alcohol, who can begin to process various levels of alcohol up to bottled waragi instead of only making local brew.

The President spoke sternly about how 2 groups in Government; the Politicians and Civil Servants, who through their actions are delaying Uganda’s development. Speaking about politicians, he gave the example of how Parliamentarians in the 90s frustrated his efforts to use a Thai expert to help with the issue of value addition in the Dairy Sector by upgrading the existing Dairy Corporation processing facility. He also spoke about civil servants who are focused on eating the little that is there, with no value addition; and clarified that the PPDA Act was made to guide non-specialised procurements but cannot be applied to purchase of industrial manufacturing equipment made by few specialised companies that can be contacted directly – similar to the purchase of military equipment. He also called out MoFPED for their failure to support Tooke and banana value addition and the Auditor General for failure to identify the value lost in exporting unprocessed goods, giving the example that exported unprocessed coffee fetches just USD2.5 per kg while with a small addition of value, the same kilo will fetch USD40.

The President called upon the entire political class particularly NRM supporters and civil servants to awake from their slumber and reminded them that the present struggle is to jump from the GDP of USD55Bn to USD550Bn.

To achieve this there are 4 dimensions to consider:
1.    Joining the money economy. Has already started, all homesteads must be persuaded to join the money economy. Started at 68% outside oney economy. Now staruggling with 39% through PDM. Once 100%, we will have lots of raw materials produced e.g coffee, have moved from 2M to 8M bags and aiming for 20M.
2.    Value Addition: Happy to hear from Busoga rep sugar can growers being supported by UDB. Not producing just sugar but also ethanol, glad you’ll blend with petraol. Can also produce animal feeds. Sugar industry can enable growth of the dairy insudtr in Busoga, grass fed plus by-products of sugar
3.    Expansion and Deepening of Services Sector: tourism, hitels, entertainment. Professional services like doctors
4.    Knowledge Economy: use skills and innovation to produce goods. cWe have been funding these efforts but MoFPED

The President commended the gentleman who spoke about bio solutions for agriculture which he called very critical in solving the issue of heavy chemical residue on fruits and vegetables that Uganda is trying to boost exports of. He spoke about a similar venture by Dr. Kaahwa developing the tick vaccine that eliminates the need for chemicals to kill ticks, and how beetles had been used to control the water hyacinth. Developing natural, biological agricultural inputs will improve the quality of Ugandan products.

The President expressed his gratitude towards the PCF CEO, Chairman, Dr. Biyinzika for being very active in driving the Presidential CEO Forum and for helping the Government at no cost, by exposing the loopholes, mistakes and distortions in the system. He acknowledged the Retreat recommendations and committed to discuss these with the Prime Minister and provide feedback in 3 weeks.

In closing, H.E the President thanked the organisers of the CEO Retreat and promised that he will always attend because he gets free consultancy to do his work. He confirmed that the Presidential CEO Retreat should maintain 2 engagements annually

  1. Electrification of the Government fleet: Once the electric buses are made, Government will buy them for institutions, schools and the army.
  2. GoU Data Sharing: He directed the Prime Minister to ensure that MDA’s share public data, and that PCF guide OPM on how and what should be done.
  3. UDB lending: It should be possible for UDB to lend below 10% can be done since the inflation rate has come down in Uganda (3.9%, one of the lowest worldwide)
  4. Raw materials/intermediate products: Raw Materials are subject to 0% tax as long as they are not available in Uganda; and intermediate products to 10% tax if the product is not already made in Uganda. To be taken up with the 1st Deputy prime Minister.
  5. VIP Status at Entebbe International Airport: granted for distinguished businesspeople. PCF to provide a list to OPM for vetting. 
  6.  Mahogany Tax: The tax on importation of mahogany (which is not available in Uganda) from the DRC is wrong because as a raw material (used by furniture makers) it should be subject to 0% tax (as long as it is not re-exported)
  7. Land Swap: Not possible for the land swap as proposed by Paul Sigombe in his presentation because the said forest is set aside for citrus farming. He was advised to find another plot in Jinja and Kamuli to swap for GoU to consider for the industrial park
  8. Mbale Industrial Park Outlet: OPM directed to open a Sales Office in the Sino Mbale Industrial Park with products produced in the park, for local customers.
  9. Dealing with the Private Sector: Government should hire and use people that understand business, for the negotiations and meetings the Private Sector. For industrialisation talks, we need technical and business experts who are knowledgeable, and not administrators who waste Private Sector time.
  10. Bodawerk: The President was pleased with their progress manufacturing solar batteries and making electric motorcycles and promised to look into how to support them, and to visit and commission the plant.
  11. UDC: should expedite the establishment of the Farmers Owned Sugarcane Factory so that ethanol for blending with petrol and animal feeds are produced.
  12. The Sugar Act and the Bio-fuels Act: should be operationalized


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