93 percent of free zones exports is gold, says report

The Board of Directors – Uganda FreeZones Authority. Photo Courtesy 

What you need to know:

According to the report, for two years now, semi processed gold has been the main driver of growth in free zones exports, accounting for 93 percent of total earnings

At least 93 percent of goods exported through free zones is gold, according to Uganda Free Zones Authority.

In details contained in a report for the period ended 2021, the Uganda Free Zones Authority noted that at least $1.1b (Shs3.8 trillion) worth of gold was exported , which makes the commodity the largest export item to be processed  through the zones.

The $1.1b (Shs4.2) was part of the $1.2b (Shs4.2) worth of total value of exports that were traded in the zones during 2021. This was an increase from $154m (Shs545b) posted in 2020.

According to the report, for two years now, semi processed gold has been the main driver of growth in free zones exports, accounting for 93 percent of total earnings. 

Mr Hez Kimoomi Alinda, the Uganda Free Zones Authority executive director, while releasing the report, said the positive performance in free zones was driven by increased mineral and tobacco processing activities.

“Simba Gold Refinery, Metal Testing and Smelting and Aurnish Trading were the leading exporters during the period, accounting for 93 percent of all total export earnings generated from free zones,” he said.

All the three companies are involved in gold and other minerals export.

Gold has for more than a year now dominated Uganda’s export market, contributing at least 44 percent of the total value of Uganda’s exports.

However, trading in the commodity has stalled in the last four months over tax-related disputes involving government and dealers.

Much of Uganda’s gold exports are re-exports from Tanzania, DR Congo and Zimbabwe.

During the period, according to the report, flower and horticulture contributed 3.1 percent followed by tobacco, which contributed 3.1 percent.

Other products that were exported through the free zones include wheat flour, sandalwood essential oils, and cocoa beans.

Underground natural calcium phosphates contributed the least export value. 

The Uganda Free Zones Authority is a government agency that regulates and licences export processing zones for the purpose of creating opportunities for export-oriented investment.

About free zones    

Free zones are designated areas in Uganda where duty free goods are stored, manufactured and or processed for export with all domestic and foreign investors who export 80 percent and more of their enterprise output eligible to invest in free zones.

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