Build Uganda Buy Uganda (Bubu) is not a smart industrial development strategy that will drive industrialisation, according to Prof Danny Leipziger, a lecturer of International Business and International Affairs at George Washington University and the Growth Dialogue managing director.
While delivering a paper during a public lecture in Kampala early on Tuesday, Prof Leipziger, said Uganda must not rely on Bubu to drive the industrialisation agenda because it has failed elsewhere.
“Bubu alone is not enough for Uganda’s industrialisation. It has to be accompanied by [massive growth] in the exports sector,” he said, noting that most countries that have done protectionism have failed and eventually opened up to competition.
Participant after participant at the forum had urged government to support and protect local industries from outside competition through well-structured programmes such as Bubu.
However, Prof Leipziger said instead of focusing on Bubu, Uganda should leverage its competitive advantage in areas where it has expertise to compete regionally.
He also noted that it was wrong for government to think that industrialisation can solely be driven by the private sector, saying: “The state is the driver of future growth and industrial development in form of policy implementation and provision of the necessary infrastructure.”
Uganda already has a National Industrial Policy that sets out the strategic direction for industrial development in the next 10 years.
However, Prof Leipziger said for Uganda to achieve full scale industrialisation, coordination, policy implementation and making necessary adjustments must be taken seriously.
According to Uganda Manufactures Association, Uganda’s industrial capacity has grown from just 400 industries in 1986 to 5,000.
However, experts say, the growth is too slow compared to current economic fundamentals key among them rapid population growth and high unemployment.
At the same forum, Bank of Uganda Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, said industrial development, as stated in Vision 2040, is a very important aspect for Uganda that will be necessary for economic transformation to take place.
“We must consider the numerous industrial strategies and developments that have been pursued in other countries over time,” he said.