Kampala. The East African Secretariat is planning to ignite the region’s manufacturing sector to increase its contribution towards the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Currently, the EAC GDP stands at $110.3 billion (Shs330.9 trillion) as of the 2014 records. Of this, the manufacturing sector contributes less than 10 per cent.
Speaking at the third secretary general’s breakfast meeting in Kampala last week, Dr Richard Sezibera, the EAC Secretary General, said: “We are looking at boosting the manufacturing sector and once this takes off, it will increase jobs for the growing youth population in the region.”
On how jobs will be created, Mr Sezibera said plans are underway to tap skills from the eight million Chinese who were laid off in the manufacturing sector early this year.
This year’s manufacturers’ summit slated for September, will further debate on how to grow the region’s manufacturing sector .
Uganda’s State minister for East African Affairs Shem Bageine urged the private sector to continue dialoging because it is through this that their businesses will be promoted in the region.
“I urge you cut-back on import business and invest in value addition and local manufacturing. This will not only support employment but also save the value of our currency from sliding,” Mr Bageine advised.
EAC has established a fund which seeks to raise $20 million (Shs60 billion) from the private sector for three-years.
Mr Sezibera said: “Our budget is currently 67 per cent funded by the donors. This percentage must go down if we are to own our integration.”
Over the last couple of years, Uganda’s manufacturing and industrial sector has positively grown from 8.9 per cent in 2007 as percentage share of Uganda’s GDP to 26.1 per cent based on data released in February 2012.