By Amos Ngwomoya
Kampala — Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) yesterday elected Ms Barbara Mulwana as the new chairperson of the association replacing Mr Amos Nzeyi who has served for two terms.
"I am humbled by the trust and confidence bestowed on me by all the manufacturers and the board as whole. I come in at a time when manufacturers are faced with a host of challenges which I think will be solved if we join hands to meet our goals," Ms Mulwana said amidst cheers from the members.
Ms Mulwana, who is also the executive director of House of Plastics, is the daughter to the late James Mulwana, one of the founders of UMA. She is also the director of Uganda Batteries Ltd and Jesa Farm Diary.
"One of my first tasks will be engaging government on how the working environment of manufacturers could be improved. For instance, the different taxes imposed on us affect our services and that's why you see many manufacturers are financially incapacitated," she said.
While delivering his handover speech, Mr Nzeyi challenged the new UMA board members to be committed and provide enough time to the association to propel the interests of manufacturers forward.
"As I leave this board today (yesterday), I am happy that I have laid down some achievements like mainstreaming the local content, ensuring new PPDA guidelines for the reservation schemes, championing the Buy Uganda Build Uganda Policy, tasking government to reduce power tariffs, partnering with URA and UNBS to address manufacturers' challenges and providing training skills to over 2,833 students and placing 1,853 among others," he said.
But Mr Nzeyi noted that for the manufacturers to succeed, government must urgently reduce power tariffs to help cut the cost of production.
Daily Monitor has also established that a special tariff rate for large scale power users from $12 cents to $5 cents per KWh is expected by July this year.
The electricity tariff in Uganda ranks 4th highest in Africa and currently, industrial electricity tariff stands at $27 cents per KWh (Residential) and $12 cents per KWh (industry) which manufacturers claim is very high compared to other nations worldwide.
Mr Lawrance Katerega of Katlan Agency which deals in food spices said that government must address the demands of manufacturers so that they shouldn't be left behind by their counterparts in Kenya and Tanzania.