The Unfortunate 2019 UMA Trade Fair show .

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OPINION

Companies from both manufacturers and service providers and suppliers might be contemplating different avenues of product exhibitions other than the Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) trade fair.

very poor organisation.

First there was daily intended power (Electricity) issues; then the trade fair attendees were mainly primary and secondary going students who do not have purchasing power and lastly; the gates to the trade fair grounds would close very early to the disadvantage of foods and beverages service providers.

According to one of the exhibitors who preferred not to be mentioned here, the 2019 trade show that just ended at Lugogo grounds last October ended in a total loss for many whose interests of making money and getting potential customers could not be realised.

This exhibitor’s reasoning is that the organisers made it difficult for the manufacturers and service providers for the entire period the show ran.

“Just do a random interview on whoever was at the show you will tell me who had their interests here realised.”

This angry exhibitor/service provider/supplier had come with hopes of making some money from a beverage business at the trade fair. He was surely not alone. Another such angry service provider had a food stall. Hoping to get serious money from her food/eatery business, the story was different.

It is therefore increasingly clear that both service providers and exhibitors are slowly but surely losing interest in the trade fair because they are not appreciating UMA’s organisation. If the exhibitors lose the prior interest, then the government’s lobbying and advocacy for the ‘Buy-Uganda Build-Uganda’ mantra might not be a reality.

Government recently announced the tax policy changes in the customs following amendments regarding customs duties and laws for the financial year 2019/2020 that saw an increase in import taxes of certain products that were causing unfair competition for local manufacturers. Manufacturers of products such as toilet paper, exercise books, toothbrushes, biscuits, shoe polish, sugar, carton boxes, iron sheets or steel wool, mattresses among others are some of the direct beneficiaries of UMA’s persistent lobbying.

Power Issue;

Even with promises from President Yoweri Museveni who assured manufacturers that all of them, including small and micro enterprises, will get electricity at a cheaper cost, Electricity became a major problem with intended power cut-offs daily at the recently concluded trade fair. Power blackouts caused many service providers and manufacturers to loss out on both customers yet others money.

Students don’t buy; ;

The other unfortunate bit was the fact that the trade fair attendees were mostly students from the many primary and secondary schools. According to one manufacturer, he intimated that yes it’s better to share knowledge with the students about the manufacturing industry, but it was also fine if the old community came in numbers to buy some products and supplies.

The 2019 trade fair had supplies in form of food, beverages, drilling and production materials as well as construction materials. There also services such as catering, transport, security, land surveying, clearing and forwarding.

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