The status of the textile industry in a liberalized economy: a case of three composite firms in Uganda
Tenhwa, Florence N.
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The purpose of the study was to establish the status of Ugandan textile industry in a liberalized economy. The study was conducted in three purposively selected composite textile firms in Uganda. Indepth interviews were carried out with key informants. These included six (6) managers, ten (10) supervisors and sixty-four machine operators. Additional data were generated through direct obseravtion using a checklist. The objectives of this study were to: 1) determine the demographic characteristics of respondents in the selected textile manufacturing firms, 2) establish sources and cost of raw materials used in the selected firms, 3) establish the characteristics of the selected firms, 4) identify productions processes selected textile firms, 5) identify the marketing techniques used in the textile firms, 6) establish the role of Uganda government in promoting the textile industry, 7) identify constraints facing the textile industry. Qualitative data analysis involved coding of the emerging issues. Presentation, discussion and conclusions were drawn from the emerging issues. Quantitative data were presented using frequencies and percentages. The study found out that the characteristics of the managers, supervisors and machine operators notably experience, education and training were important in promoting the status of the textile industry. Further, it was observed that education provided capacity to managers and workers for adoption of production and management techniques in the textile industry and enabled them to take advantage of the available opportunities for competitive and sustainable operations. Similarly, training of the workers enabled the managers and employees to carry out appropriate management, production and marketing activities. It was noted that cotton was the major material and was locally sourced directly from ginneries in Uganda. This is attributed to liberalisation of the economy. Other inputs like dyes and chemicals were imported. The study established that textile firms under study were large and employed both men and women. However, the proportion of men was higher than that of women. The major production processes identified were spinning, weaving, knitting, processing, cutting, sewing and finishing of the textile products. The firms targeted both local and international markets. The products were rated as of quality standard by the manufacturers since they have been recognised internationally. Among the products identified were fabric for men's and women's apparel, uniforms for school, bed sheets, and mattress covers. Knit-wear such as T-shirts and briefs were cited in one of the firms. The study concluded that the status of the composite firms is promising and the firms have the potential to develop and compete with others on the international market. Based on the findings of the study the following recommendations were made. The government of Uganda to: 1.) Continue taking strict measures to reduced importation of new and second-hand clothes, 2.) Encourage investments in the local textile industry 3.) Encourage training in the areas of training. 4.) In-service training was recommended for worker already employed in the textile industry.