KAMPALA, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Uganda's trade deficit grew by 1.8 billion U.S. dollars in nine months up to March 2018, the country's finance minister said on Thursday.
Matia Kasaija, ministry of finance, planning and economic development while reading the country's 2018/19 national budget said the imports increase by 16.4 percent valued at 5.7 billion dollars while the exports rose by 9.6 percent to 3.93 billion dollars in the same period.
In the previous year the imports were valued at 4.9 billion dollars while the exports were 3.59 billion dollars.
The increase in imports is attributed to the rise in the prices of oil imports and increased inflow of capital goods to support domestic investment especially in the oil and gas sector and infrastructure development.
The increase in exports though not more than imports is attributed to the rise in the export volumes of beans, coffee, tea and maize, according to the minister.
To close the deficit, the government is looking at fast tracking industrialization and removing non-tariff barriers.
"We shall support entrepreneurs in making investments in the manufacture of industrial products, provision of serviced industrial parks, free zones and dedicated works spaces," Kasaija said.
"Agro-industrialization is an important aspect that will unlock Uganda's natural potential in agricultural production, while further developing the formal manufacturing sector," he said.