Use Covid-19 Situation to Industrialize, President Museveni
MBALALA, MUKONO: In face of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ugandans and Africans in general must wake up and exploit their potential to create an industrialised economy, President Museveni has said.
The President made the call today (Tuesday) while commissioning two mask production lines of LIDA Packaging Ltd in Mbalala Industrial Park, Mukono District.
The nine-year old company that manufactures plastics, fabrics and woven bags, established the mask-production facility to respond to the need for protective equipment in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Partnering with Tian Tian Group for the over $5 million investment, Lida Packaging focuses on producing high quality yet affordable medical and non-medical masks. The factory has a production capacity of 560,000 masks per day and employs 315, of which 220 are women.
“I am happy to commission this factory because it is responding to our call to build local capacity through investing in Uganda and helping to fight the COVID war,” said President Museveni.
Mr Museveni said it was in such times that Africa must wake up and get rid of the excessive importation, which had over the years created a trade imbalance.
“We must export and also import but the problem of Africa is that importing had become a sickness because we import the things that we can manufacture here. This is not healthy importing,” he said.
Speaking about investment, President Museveni said the government would protect the upcoming local industries by putting a ban on the imported products that are already manufactured in the country.
He also encouraged Ugandan business men to consider borrowing from Uganda Development Bank (UDB) to start industries, adding that the one trillion shillings had been put in the bank was from Uganda itself.
The President who witnessed Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) handing over certificate of operation to recognise that the masks LIDA was producing were of quality, appreciated UNBS for endeavoring to ensure the country uses standardized and efficient products.
The State Minister for Investment, Evelyn Anite, said Ugandans would now buy locally-made masks, adding that Uganda was now exporting over 50,000 packages of masks to Kenya.
Chinese Ambassador to Uganda, Mr. Zheng ZhuQiang, hailed President Museveni for leading the country well during the pandemic and for offering support to China during the outbreak of the virus.
He further said the President’s leadership was a sign that he was a good strategist, a true revolutionary with wartime experience.
“China has received strong support from Uganda and I know this because President Museveni sent a letter of support to President Xi Jinping when the outbreak had just started. We have also received a lot of support for instance people from Makerere University sent masks to China during the tough period. With solidarity and unity, we can this battle and protect more people,” he said.
Chairman of LIDA factory, Mr. Li shi qing, in his brief remarks noted that the factory’s goal was to provide high quality masks at the lowest cost possible and that the company was proud to be part of the ‘Buy Uganda, Build Uganda’ (BUBU) policy.
He added that the company had procured equipment to produce non-woken fabrics which would allow it to compete with any other company, as they did not need to import non-woven fabrics from another country.