A report released recently indicates that Uganda's market is dominated by goods majorly imported from China, India and Kenya.
Other countries enjoying a large share of Uganda's market include United Arab Emirates, Japan, South Africa, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, USA, Republic of Korea and United Kingdom (UK).
Presenting the report before Parliament's trade, tourism and industry's committee, the Uganda Export Promotion deputy Executive Director William Babigumira said the progress of Uganda's economy is greatly hindered by its inadequate exports which are greatly outweighed by the goods imported in from other countries.
The report indicated that Uganda's exports increased by 33 percent in the previous 2011/2012 financial year. Last year, Uganda's exports stood at $ 2,159,00 while the imports were far higher at $5,630,876.
The report also shows that the countries Uganda exports its goods most include are Southern Sudan followed by Kenya, Rwanda, D.R. Congo, United Arab Emirate, Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, UK, Italy, Spain, Tanzania, and Burundi.
The Uganda Export Promotions Board executive director Florence Kata expressed concern that government has not yet practically prioritized the promotion of Uganda's exports.
"There is an anti-export bias in Uganda which is greatly affecting our economy. Export development and promotion is a lot more talked about than done. Much of it is left to the private sector.
Showing how the institution has been abandoned, Kata called for parliament's intervention on the Board's deficit of sh2.2b which they need to pay staff salaries, arrears and overhead costs.
"Because of inadequate funding, we have not been able to pay for our staff's social security fund and pay as you earn and because of this poor remuneration so many of our staff have left the organisation,' babigumira lamented.
The board officials complained that besides the money allocated to them being inadequate, the finance ministry always reduces their releases causing a deficit which has greatly affected their work.
The MPs on the committee expressed shock that the minister of trade, tourism and industry has taken so long to constitute the board of directors for the Uganda Export Promotion Board as the law requires.
The angry MPs unanimously agreed to summon the trade minister and the finance ministry next week to ensure that the administration bottlenecks for Uganda's export promoting agency are immediately sorted out.
Kata expressed concern that even cereal food which Uganda can locally grow is still taking a huge chunk of the country's scarce foreign exchange.
She advised the Uganda government to borrow a leaf from Zambia which stopped importation of wheat and start growing it locally and it is now exporting the surplus to other nations.