When the NRM seized power in 1986, Uganda's industrial production was negligible. Manufacturing industries, based primarily on processing agricultural products unavailable in Uganda, operated at approximately one-third of their 1972 level. The mining industry had almost come to a standstill. The rudiments of industrial production existed in the form of power stations, factories, mines, and hotels, but these facilities needed repairs and improved maintenance, and government budgets generally assigned these needs lower priority than security and commercial agricultural development. The city of Jinja, the nation's former industrial hub, was marked by signs of poverty and neglect. The dilapidated road system in and around Jinja provided one of the most serious obstacles to industrial growth.
Industrial growth was a high priority in the late 1980s, however. The government's initial goal was to decrease Uganda's dependence on imported manufactured goods by rehabilitating existing enterprises. These efforts met with some success, and in 1988 and 1989, industrial output grew by more than 25 percent, with much of this increase in the manufacturing sector. Industry's most serious problems, including capital shortages, were the need for skilled workers and people with management experience. Engineers and repair people ,in particular, were in demand, and government planners sought ways to gear vocational training toward these needs.
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