The Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Ltd deal with government is simply but just the latest symptom of systemic government policy and practice that favours so-called foreign investors over Ugandan born genuine innovators and investors.
Sadly, my thesis of 2014 continues to hold true; and thus my plea that we should close Uganda’s market also continues to hold true. It is mind boggling the Government of Uganda’s attitude which favours foreigners in form of open access to the Ugandan market; while at the same time government has not done enough to protect the internal market share for its domestically made and produced products.
In a bid to attract the so-called ‘foreign investors’ government gives them very lucrative tax exemption incentives. While, in comparison, home grown products such as those that we grow at Alinga Farms are taxed heavily.
Case in point, we sun-dried our produce and packaged it to international standards, fit to be sold at major supermarkets. Guess what Uganda Revenue Authority did? It applied a value addition tax on our agricultural products – sun-dried mushrooms and sun-dried calyces of Hibiscus Sabdariffa.
Within the reality of Uganda’s smallholder farmers being the backbone of Uganda’s economy, it is ludicrous for government to decree exclusive rights to sell and to market Ugandan coffee on the the international market to and Italian investor. And, moreover, to a company associated with Ms. Enrica Pinetti, who is currently also party to the Finansi Lubowa Hospital Saga.
How is it that government expects us to accept that she who has screwed up already in mega proportions, should now be in charge of the backbone of our economy? How is it that government is rewarding this screw up with more tax exemptions and monopoly protection?