President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has reiterated his ban on the exportation of unprocessed timber in Uganda. During the closure of a 2-day 4th Bi-Annual CEO Retreat organized by the Presidential CEO Forum (PCF) at Kiira Vehicle plant in Jinja, President Museveni restated his stance to protect the environment by discouraging the export of raw timber.
“I said nobody should export timber which is unprocessed. So if you are a furniture maker, that is what you want. Keep the timber and make the furniture here. So, if you want to export, you export the furniture, not the timber,” President Museveni said.
The ban on timber exports comes as a measure to address the issue of deforestation in Uganda, following a directive from President Museveni on 21st June 2023 to reverse the worrying trend of deforestation. The National Policy Committee on Environment took action by resolving to ban the export of timber and revoking all related licenses and permits.
President Museveni also suggested that Uganda should engage with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to similarly ban the exportation of timber to Uganda. He emphasized the need to convert timber into furniture before exporting, rather than exporting raw materials.
“Now when it is coming from Congo, I think we should also persuade our Congolese friends to make furniture because that will be a loophole. They will take out timber claiming that it’s coming from Congo. That lack of vision is what I cannot support. State House which we built in 2007, the furniture there is all imported, can you imagine? That is why I questioned the Comptroller who at that time was there asking how they could allow us to sit on imported furniture,” the President explained.
President Museveni further addressed the issue of taxation on imported raw materials, expressing his belief that raw materials not produced in Uganda should be exempted from taxes. However, he mentioned that the matter would be discussed further, with Rt. Hon. Rebecca is following up on the topic.
Commending the organizers of the retreat, President Museveni praised the role of the PCF in developing Uganda and expressed his willingness to attend future events, appreciating the opportunity for valuable insights.
“The PCF retreat is a very good attempt, and I will always attend whenever organized because I always get free consultancy. Why would I refuse free consultancy? I have to be happy with them for helping me,” he said.
President Museveni encouraged Ugandans to support the UPDF’s National Enterprise Corporation (NEC), emphasizing its potential to contribute to an independent, integrated, and self-sustaining economy.
“I want to thank Lt. Gen James Mugira, the Managing Director of the National Enterprise Corporation and his group. You can see that your children are educated, they have all the capacity but the problem has been the backup. They are not utilized so if the whole system wakes up and understands our original point number 5 of building an independent integrated, self-sustaining economy, they will do it, these people are educated. We already have a very educated workforce, but they don’t have any backup,” President Museveni said.
The CEO Retreat, themed “Uganda’s Industrialisation Agenda: Positioning Uganda as a net source of E-mobility Solutions in Africa,” saw the participation of over 300 business leaders, government executives, investors, and scientists.