Ugandans textile industry at one time booming has remained in an indeterminate state despite incentives such as America's African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) while some African countries, particularly South Africa, Kenya and Lesotho, have taken advantage of the initiative to boost their trade with the US.
While officiating at the new fine spinner textile factoryâ€™s launch worth approximately $40m on Wednesday in Kampala, President Museveni admitted that Uganda hasnâ€™t been able to benefit from the AGOA initiative introduced in 2000 to make it easier for exporters in selected African countries to access the US market without major hindrances.
Fine Spinners instead of celebration over the launch of new textile factory are likely to be greeted with measured optimism at best and cynicism at worst.
This is because the previous investors courted by the government haven't lived up to expectations either they weren't up to the task or the business environment wasn't conducive enough for them to succeed.
In Uganda, attempts to work with Sri Lankan investors at the Bugolobi site, now taken over by Fine Spinners a few years ago, ended in failure. On the other hand, local players have not made much progress for unclear reasons.
This situation has cost Uganda an opportunity to add value to its cotton and boost the farmers' incomes immensely while generating thousands of new jobs.
One hopes that this government has this time round attracted a credible investor with the requisite resources and capacity to transform Uganda's textile industry. To support investors in the textile sector, the government must provide a good policy framework to begin with.
As it wouldn't make sense to attract investors in the textile sector and at the same time imports from China and other countries get in at cheaper prices.
Ugandans textiles have a big domestic market to serve even before exports are considered.
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