Developing Uganda’s leather industry would be a step towards industrialisation. That is why Uganda Leather and Allied Industries Association (ULAIA) are in talks with India to develop the country’s local industries into producers of finished products.
If deals which are coordinated by the International Trade Centre Supporting Indian Trade and Investment in Africa (SITA) project are signed, Uganda will cut back on the import bill, get more revenue, create new jobs and reduce poverty.
Mr Abdul Hakim Sekandi, the chairman ULAIA, presenting a paper on the status of the industry to a delegation of Indian Investors who looking for partnerships in Kampala this week said: “More than 95 per cent of processed hides and skins are exported as partly processed leather (wet blue) but could upgrade to crust and finished leather if technology and investment is increased through partnerships.”
Mr Sekandi said Uganda has seven large tanneries and two small ones with installed capacity to process close to 10,000 hides and 47,000 skins per day.
Yet it is estimated that tanneries are operating at 60 to 70 per cent capacity range because of financial constraints, markets and machine breakdowns.
Mr Ben Naturinda, SITA coordinator in Uganda, said the objective is to connect Indian and Ugandan companies especially in value addition.
“These companies which are already producing finished leather products were carefully selected. We think when they partner they will help Uganda to improve on our leather,” Mr Naturinda added.
State Minister for Industries Michael Werikhe said the leather industry is one of the sectors government is looking up to support.
He said: “This is the reason we developed a policy and we promise the private sector that we shall implement it.”
Mr Sekandi said they are coming up with six medium sized footwear factories and over 800 small-scale footwear entrepreneurs are operating countrywide.
Source: Daily Monitor - Uganda