KAMPALA: On Sunday, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga rekindled the push for local industries to receive special consideration from the government.
Ms Kadaga was touring business chains belonging Megha Industries where she said there was an urgent need for legislation that favours local investors.
Whereas the visit appeared to be out of courtesy, Daily Monitor has established it was a fact finding mission prior to the processing of new revenue generation bills.
Kadaga said that local manufacturers need to be given special treatment with a relaxed tax regime that will enable them flourish.
“The laws we make, the legislation affects the industries so it is important to hear from their perspective,” Kadaga said.
“Every Financial year we have the tax measures, I think these are the areas we need to address because they directly affect their work,” Kadaga added.
The Speaker’s soft eye for Megha Industries is because of a hastened relationship between the Speaker and the firm, Daily Monitor has learnt.
In her own confession, Kadaga said that, the firm has distributed free mattresses to health centres in Kamuli and other parts of the country.
The Group also supplies mattresses to Kigangu Youth Camp where over 600 students assemble for life skills every year.
With this partnership, the speaker says that local firms, given their roots in the country, will serve the social-economic vantage of the country, through increased employment opportunities, in line with government aspiration.
Megha Industries alone for instance employs 400 Ugandans. The firm runs a chain of businesses including car bonds, furniture marts and processing plants as well as a shopping mall in Entebbe.
If protected from foreign competition and huge taxes, Kadaga said, the firms will be boosted towards import substitution.
Meanwhile, Dr Shiraz Meghani, the chairman of Megha Group wants the government to give them more land for expansion on one hand and relaxing the tax measures on the other.
He told Daily Monitor that if the speaker’s pledge is met, the cost of doing business in Uganda will be more favourable.
“Taxes are a bit too high they (government) can reduce a bit on the Value Added Tax and give more leverage to local investors,” said Meghan.
The group has operated in Uganda for the last 20 years.
Dr Meghan said that in protecting local investors, the government should not allow foreign firms to venture in similar chains covered by local firms.