Kampala. The Southern Range Nyanza, locally known as Nytil, the leading textile manufacturer in the country, wants the government to enforce the textile policy so as to save the local industry from undue competition emanating from imported clothes, particularly the second-hand clothes.
Despite the national textile policy advocating for promotion and supporting the local textile factories, it appears little has been done by government to enforce the ideals declared in the well-articulated policy.
Statistics indicate that about 80 per cent of textile products consumed in the country are imported, with majority being mivumba - second hand clothes.
“If the textile policy is enforced, we will increase our employment. All we are asking for is a level playing field because we are here for a long term. We should be protected from cheap imported clothes. This impacts on our production,” Nytil general manager, Mr Vinay Kumar, said in an interview last week.
He continued: “We have invested already approximately $5 million (about Shs16.7b) in our work. Approximately $2 million (about Shs6.6b) of this will be used in purchasing modern facilities before the close of the year. Actually some of this is already being shipped in.”
It also emerged that the Buy Uganda Build Uganda policy is more of a lip service. Currently, some uniforms for armed forces in the country are being imported from Asia yet Nytil has the capacity to make those uniforms here. A whole line meant for that is being rendered redundant.
Speaking earlier, Uganda Manufacturers Association manager policy and advocacy, Mr Lawrence Oketcho, said: “Engagement with government departments, agencies and ministries is under way, with a main agenda being enforcement of the aforementioned policies.”
He said: “For local industries to compete fairly, they must be protected from undue competition or else they will be crippled and that is bad news for the economy.”
Founded in 1954, Nytil is Uganda’s largest integrated textile industry, with a modernised plant, employing nearly 1500 workers majority of whom are young women.
Nytil targets a $50 million (Shs167b) turnover this year.
There is a lot of work happening at Nytil which produces fabrics such as school and other uniforms, bed sheets, T-shirts, among others. About 18,000 T-shirts are processed per day, alongside a whole variety of other products. The current management has injected about a trillion Shillings to revive the plant.