Movit: From shs1 million to a multi-billion giant

Tuesday October 8 2013

Movit: From shs1 million to a multi-billion giant

Pupils donned in Movit paper caps display their excitement at the opening of the UMA Trade Fair in Kampala last week. Photo by Stephen Wandera. 

By Dorothy Nakaweesi

From a makeshift workshop in Namasuba, Wakiso District, Movit Products Limited has grown from a simple enterprise to a multi-billion investment.

The company is ranked among Uganda’s largest tax payers with a production line of about 170 products.

In the last 13 years, Movit, the company’s flagship name, has grown into one of Uganda’s largest cosmetics manufacturers with distribution links in both East Africa and the Comesa regions.

“The start was never easy due to the fact that we lacked money and extensive knowledge about cosmetics production. But in 1999 we put our first product – herbal baby jerry on the market,” Mr Emmy Musasirane, the operations and administration director narrates.

During this time we imported some other cosmetics to supplement the product that we had put on the market but with the view of exploring avenues that would allow us manufacture our own products.

We have a range of products, including body creams, hair gels and children’s products among others.

“We started with a philosophy that believed more in organic growth [starting small and growing slowly] than taking loans to expand.”

The cosmetic producer is currently housed on a 45 acre piece of land in Zana – Bunamwaya, off Entebbe Road.

Progress
From an initial capital of about Shs1 million, the company has grown its annual portfolio to about Shs35 billion.

The company employs about 700 salaried people with at least 1,000 casual laborers.

Most of Movit’s products have become household names with an efficient distribution chain.

It exports to a number of countries including Rwanda, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, and DR Congo.

Ninety five per cent of the company’s raw materials are imported, with a few sourced locally.

Challenges
Despite the company’s tremendous growth, this has not been without challenges.

The fact that 95 per cent of the company’s raw materials are imported makes it expensive in terms of transportation.

This is partly attributed to high taxation following a 10 per cent excise duty on cosmetic imports introduced by the government recently.

Other challenges include inefficient power supply, which according to the company hugely eats into its profit margins.

Opportunities
Even amid challenges, the company says there are still a lot of opportunities as the market continues to experience growth.

According to Musasirane, there are so many imports that continue to enter Uganda.

This, he says calls for Ugandans to up their production, both in quality and quantity so as to close out imports.

Advice
Musasirane says Ugandans have to become more innovative if they are to form any formidable competition towards neighbouring countries like Kenya.

He says there are no short-cuts, but its only hard work that can deliver Ugandans to success.

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