Second-hand clothes are for dead people, says Museveni

 President Museveni (centre) with Chinese Ambassador to Uganda Zhang Lizhong (2nd right) during the commissioning of factories at Mbale Industrial Park on August 24, 2023. PHOTO/ YAHUDU KITUNZI

What you need to know:

  • The President was speaking at the opening of 16 factories at Sino-Uganda Mbale Industrial Park yesterday.

President Museveni has re-echoed the need for citizens to embrace the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) policy if the country is to develop.

In line with this, the President has banned the importation of second-hand clothes and electric meters so as to promote the buying of locally made ones.

“Stop buying second-hand clothes, these clothes are for dead people; when they (whites) die, they organise the clothes and bring them to Africa. Support me, we stop importation of second -hand clothes so that we buy our own clothes made locally,” he said.

He added: “I have declared war on second-hand clothes to promote African wear. We are going to stop importation of second-hand clothes to create jobs from textile factories. Anybody who will stand in my way, I will crash him. We will not allow second-hand clothes to enter into the country anymore.”

The President was speaking at the opening of 16 factories at Sino-Uganda Mbale Industrial Park yesterday.

BUBU is a government policy that was approved by Cabinet in 2014 to promote the consumption and procurement of goods and services produced within the country.

But the President criticised government agencies for not supporting implementation of the policy.

He particularly singled the case of Chint Meters and Electrical (U) Ltd at the industrial park, which produces single-phase meters with an annual output of 300,000 units but are lacking a stable market.  “Our factories here are making meters but the civil servants prefer importing. I order government bodies to buy meters and cables starting September 1. They should have stopped this automatically without waiting for me to come,” Mr Museveni said.

This comes days after he banned the importation of unprocessed timber into the country.
The factories commissioned include Beyond Adhesive Products Industries, Ujia Innovation Technology Ltd, Tmi Technology, Clear Space Chemical Industries East Africa Ltd, General Wares Uganda Ltd, Wekon Industries Ltd and Lida Perfect Establishments Ltd.

The park currently pays about Shs4 billion in taxes each year and also employs about 2,000 workers.

Mr Paul Zhang, the chairperson of Sino-Uganda Mbale Industrial Park, said if the construction of the factories is completed, the park will be in position to employ about 12,000 workers.

The Chinese Ambassador, Mr Zhang Lizhong, said the commissioning of more factories is demonstration of the strong interests Chinese investors have in Uganda. “China and Uganda are also working together to implement nine programmes which cover areas of health, poverty reduction, agriculture, trade promotion, ICT infrastructure and personnel training, among others,” he said.

He said by 2022, the trade volume between Uganda and China had risen by 6.6 percent, reaching $1.13 billion.

Ms Evelyne Anite, the state minister for Investment, said they have so far created 5,000 factories across the country.