Local business representatives from Western and Central Uganda decried what they called unfair competition and infiltration of fake products in the market saying these have reduced on their profits and business growth.

The unfair competition they say is from substandard goods imported mainly from India and China. These range from electronics to agro inputs, which include fertilizers, seeds and pesticides.

This renewed outcry was made during the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) Business Climate Index (BCI) dissemination held on May 3, 2018 in Mbarara for Western Uganda and on May 9, 2018 in Kayunga for Central Uganda.

Brian Sserunjogi a Research Fellow at EPRC who shared the BCI finding for the central region in Kayunga confirmed that competition from substandard goods from China and India is a key challenge perturbing local business owners in addition to high costs of electricity and macro economic instability.

The acting District Commercial Officer for Kayunga, Mr. Charles Yiga acknowledged that inferior goods are flooding Ugandan markets. He accused some individuals working with Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) of colluding with smugglers and dealers of fake goods.

Yiga also decried the poor quality of inputs distributed to local farmers for example seeds, saying this will worsen the ailments affecting the agriculture sector.

Relatedly Kiiza Abutalib, the Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UNCCI) official based in Kayunga said that at times confiscated fake products are resold.
“They take back these goods after capturing them and sell,” he said.

EPRC could not independently verify these assertions.

Regarding sector performance, Sserunjoji noted that agriculture is performing well due to the rebound of rains. This is followed by the service sector, while the manufacturing sector is stifled. “The manufacturing sector has shown a decline due to an increase in the cost of doing business for instance the rise in fuel prices,” he said.

While presenting the Western Uganda BCI findings, Paul Lakuma, a Research Fellow at EPRC noted that the service sector (Salons, entertainment, hotels, health) was operating below potential throughout the last 2017 quarter.

WS BCI May 3 2018 Mbararra

In an interview with NBS Television, Lakuma further explained that the manufacturing sector is suffering from oil shocks arising from prolonged 2017 Kenya’s political process.

He said much as businesses are trying to realign themselves, policy pronouncements such as the proposed taxation on SACCOs could slide the business community into an abyss.

Lakuma called for stabilization and reduction in the cost of power and government investment in technologies that contain the effects of variability of weather.

Tumusiime Bamuturaki, the Mbarara Distrcit chairperson warned the business community against speculation and exaggeration. “Before you engage in any field first have knowledge,” he said promising to use EPRC research to guide local government support on socio economic projects.

 

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