The Minister of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives Amelia Kyambadde pledged to help Graphic Systems, a Luzira-based dealer in printing and packaging products, negotiate a sales deal with the ministry of Education and Sports.
"The Ministry will engage with the Ministry of Education and Sports to impress upon them to procure the services of Graphic Systems in the printing of educational materials," minister Kyambadde said while visiting the company's headquarters in Luzira Industrial Park, Kampala.
She requested the managers to provide a "list of other potential MDA clients" to help with the recommendation process.
Founded in 1997 by Safir HajeeWhile, the company is one of the many contributors to Uganda's growing Foreign Direct Investment.
According to its website, the company employs over 200 permanent employees and 150 part-time employees and operates subsidiaries in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Angola.
"The Government recognizes the major role played by Foreign Direct Investment in the socio-economic development of Uganda. These include job creation, entrepreneurship development, income distribution and driving innovation among others," said Kyambadde.
She hailed the company for contributing to solving the problem of "inadequate and expensive externally-sourced packaging materials."
"Industrial printing and packaging solutions for advertisement is critical for industrial development and trade facilitation," she said, adding that their manufacturing process is good for the environment.
"I commend the leadership of Graphic solutions on the huge investment in Uganda in the packaging subsector; and for ensuring green manufacturing and environmental-friendly practices, as exemplified by the usage of your waste as raw materials by other industries to produce egg-trays and cardboards."
The pledge comes as the government ramps up efforts to strengthen import substitution by boosting local manufacturing. A number of measures have been taken in that direction. This very company was among those that benefitted from the recent increase in import duty to discourage the importation of locally made goods.
In his State of the Nation Address, President Museveni revealed that the country’s Import Bill is US$7billion per year and he dubbed this “wasted foreign exchange” since some of the imported goods like food are in large supply locally.
For instance, Uganda spends over $40 million on importing animal products, $452m on vegetable products, and beverages, $220m on prepared foodstuff and tobacco, among others.
To encourage the purchase of these times from local companies, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) increased import duty on most goods and the government will inject money into supporting some companies.
While at Graphic Systems, the minister said her ministry had observed that the company was under-utilizing its machinery, and yet operating at full capacity would create more jobs, increase turn-over and enable the Company to pay more taxes.
"The main objective of the BUBU policy is to promote the consumption of locally produced goods and services. The Policy provides for preferential treatment to local companies with regard to Government procurement."