Webuye Pan Paper on the spot after Museveni decries the cost of paper from Europe

President Museveni speaking during the Kenya-Uganda Business Forum in Mombasa. (PHOTO/PSCU)
President Museveni speaking during the Kenya-Uganda Business Forum in Mombasa. (PHOTO/PSCU)

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni has decried the inability to buy paper from Kenya, ever since the collapse of Webuye Pan Paper mills. Speaking at State House, Mombasa, during his state visit, he highlighted a lack of business acumen from both governments and said Uganda is forced to buy paper from Finland, at a tune of 130 million dollars.

He inquired about the state of the paper mill, prompting President Uhuru Kenyatta to explain it’s currently being revived, “I don’t know what happened to that paper mill…Imagine I’m buying paper from Finland. Finland is a place which is so cold that a tree takes 120 years to grow, in Uganda pine trees take 7 years, they are already mature,” he said, “I’m buying paper from Finland, why not buy it from Webuye?”

He revealed that Uganda uses 800 million dollars to import textiles, yet the country produces cotton, “Those fellows (Uganda) earn 500 million dollars from coffee, send back 800 million for textiles.” He said the imported goods in Kenya and Uganda show how the country is losing its money, “You go look at the import figures of Uganda or Kenya, it’s madness…that must be stopped.” He proposed that both countries should look to buy goods from each other instead of trading with far-flung nations which increase costs.

Speaking at a State banquet as the host, President Kenyatta highlighted the increased ease of business between the two nations, saying the movement of cargo from the Port of Mombasa to Kampala now takes seven days, from 21 days previously.