Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) on Thursday elected Ms Barbara Mulwana as the new chairperson of the association, replacing Mr Amos Nzeyi, who has served for two terms. The UMA board chairperson, elected after every two years, is supposed to serve up to a maximum of two terms.
Ms Mulwana, daughter of the late industrialist and founding UMA chairman James Mulwana, becomes the seventh chairperson. She brings a vast experience to UMA board. She is currently the executive director of House of Plastics; and director at both Uganda Batteries Ltd and Jesa Dairy Farm.
The new leadership comes at a time when manufacturers are faced with a number of challenges which can only be solved if members join hands. UMA has posted some achievements such as mainstreaming the local content, ensuring new PPDA guidelines, and championing the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) policy.
UMA has always engaged government to reduce power tariffs.
However, the cost of electricity in Uganda is still prohibitive, ranking 4th highest in Africa. Currently, industrial electricity tariff stands at $27 cents per KWh (residential) and $12 cents per KWh (industry). This is very high compared to many nations worldwide.
At the event, most manufacturers emphasised the need to have stable and affordable power supply if Ugandan producers are to remain relevant and add value to the lives of Ugandans and the economy in general.
UMA does a great job to this nation.
They produce goods, pay taxes, but most importantly, they provide jobs to thousands of Ugandans to earn a living. Given their weight in the economy, and for purposes of promoting the BUBU policy, their interests must be given top priority.
Our take is that government urgently reduces industrial power tariffs to cut the cost of production, which would translate into higher production and fairly low commodity prices. We hope that the expected special tariff rate drop for large scale power users from $12 cents to $5 cents per KWh is, indeed, effected soon as promised.
There should also be a more vibrant working relationship between UMA and electricity agencies such as Electricity Regulatory Authority and Umeme, to address the problem of poor quality power supply.