One of the biggest challenges that have been facing Uganda’s economy is its trade deficit where by the country has been exporting less than its imports.
To address this challenge, the government under the National Resistance Movement (NRM) has put in place measures and policies to encourage exports through industrialisation and a favourable tax policy, the “Buy Uganda Build Uganda” Policy among others.
Such policies have encouraged more local manufacturers and producers to export hence reducing the country’s trade deficit.
According to the monthly Performance of the Economy Report by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, the good policies have led to consistence growth in the export sector.
According to the latest report for December, export revenue rose by 4.5 per cent in November 2019 from USD 311.64m in October 2019 to USD 327.3m in November 2019.
Export earnings averaged at USD 138.4m in the early 1990’s with the highest earnings being registered in March 2019 when it hit highest at USD 603.94m.
However there is need to put more effort in other sectors like industrialisation and manufacturing to increase the quality of Uganda’s export as 80 per cent of its exports are currently agricultural which is bulk in volume but brings in less earnings compared to minerals or manufactured goods. Currently coffee contributes 12 per cent of all exports followed by tea, Cotton, copper, oil and fish.
Most of these exports go to African countries with Sudan being Uganda’s biggest exporting destination taking up 15 per cent of exports, Kenya 20 per cent. Other countries like DRC, the Netherlands, Germany, South Africa and the UAE follow respectively.
Speaking recently at the 4th Annual Exporters Conference held at Skyz Hotel in Naguru Kampala, the Minister for Trade, Cooperatives and Industry Amelia Kyambadde said there was need for exporters to focus on exporting services like legal services, accountancy, ICT among others to improve on how much the country earns in service export earnings.
She further urged exporters to work with governments to remove Non-Tariff Barriers like corruption to enable them move their goods more freely.