As the country struggles to reduce on the quantity of imports especially pharmaceuticals, local players in the pharmaceuticals sector say the market for their products is limited.
According to Khushboo Vadodaria, the operations director at Rene Industries limited, they currently produce only 110 products yet they have the capacity to produce more only to be limited by the market.
Uganda opened its market to the outside world, but it seems the local manufacturers are yet to reap from it.
The pharmaceuticals sector is feeling the pinch more as products from India and China outcompete what’s manufactured locally.
“This year we had anticipated a production capacity of over 3.6 billion different types of drugs per year but the market has remained stagnant and therefore can’t produce more,” said Vadodaria.
The manufacturing a capacity of only Rene industries stands at 1.8 billion different types of drugs yet they feel with a reliable market they can do more.
But these have managed to penetrate the other markets of Rwanda, DRC, and South Sudan plus Burundi other Kenya has proved to be resistant.
Amelia Kyambadde, the minister for Trade and Cooperatives, noted that despite having opened up the market, government has plans of protecting the local manufacturers.
She adds that the move by National drug authority to impose a 12% import duty on over 50 essential drugs locally manufactured drugs aims at protecting local products.
“Initially the import duty was 2% on all medicines but now national drug authority put it on 12% for all essential drugs locally manufactured and this is enough to show that government still cares,” Kyambadde said.
Kyambadde noted that the perception of Ugandans that local products aren’t good is wrong and that needs to change.
“By the way, when it comes to medicines it took me time to believe that we have good medicine but since I tried it out, yes, Uganda has good medicine which can be trusted. Ugandans need to support the local manufacturers so that they can grow,” she said.