Gov’t is working on Lowering Costs of doing business-Museveni

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
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President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has assured Ugandans that the government is working on the issue of lowering costs of doing business to make Uganda’s products competitive in the domestic and export markets.

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni

“These are the costs of electricity, water, transport, the cost of money borrowed from banks, etc..  As we lower these costs to the rational and realistic levels, we will be able to correctly deal with the issue of the salaries of workers.  Otherwise, we are pushing for all round industrialization, using our raw materials from agriculture; forestry; fisheries; minerals; etc,” he said.

President Museveni made the remarks today 31st December, 2023, while delivering his end-of- year address to the nation at his country home, Rwakitura, Kiruhura district.

The President explained that the National Resistance Movement (NRM)’s plan has always been to shift people from agriculture to industry and services. According to President Museveni, those sectors’ absorption capacity is much bigger than agriculture.

Too many people in agriculture is part of the under-development.  A tractor can plough 1,200acres in a season.  The 40 million acres of Uganda that are arable, therefore, need 30,000 tractors and their drivers.  Even when you include other activities such as harvesting, you will find that the present huge number of people in agriculture are redundant; therefore, they are part of disguised unemployment.  In the coming year, we shall continue our efforts in rationalizing the economy and society of Uganda,” he noted.

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The President also appealed to the citizens to create wealth and jobs through the four sectors of the economy which include commercial agriculture with “ekibaro”, industry, service and ICT.

“This ekibaro requirement forces us to distinguish between intensive agriculture (okukolera awafunda – working using small acreage) and extensive agriculture (using medium size or large-scale pieces of land).  In the former, I have advised you ever since 1995, to only go for high value activities from which you can get good money even if you do them on a small scale,” Gen. Museveni asserted.

“Here, we identified for you, seven activities (enterprises).  These are: coffee; fruits, especially mangoes, oranges, pineapples, apples and grapes; zero-grazing dairy farming; fish-farming; poultry for eggs; piggery; and homestead food crops – cassava, bananas, etc. People who have listened to this message are doing well.  I have told you about Mr. Nyakana of Rwengaaju, near Fort Portal.  I used to tell you of Mrs. Kizza of Masaka.  Recently, our son, the Hon. Byamukama of Kakumiro, has set up a very good demonstration personal farm, from which he makes a profit of Shs. 55 million per month (profits and not gross earnings). This is Shs. 660 million per year.”

He however noted that a capable country like Uganda cannot have intensive agriculture, without extensive agriculture.

“Please Ugandans with agricultural land, this is the way to go.  These policies have already caused a lot of changes in our economy.  Coffee production now stands at 9 million bags from 2 million bags in 1986.  Milk production is now 5.2 billion litres from 2m litres in 1986.  The cattle are now 16 million compared to 3 million in 1986. Tea production is now 60 million kgs compared to 3 million kgs in 1986.  I can go on and on.  This expansion is by those families that listened to our message.  What will happen if all the families with land for agriculture listen to our message?” he inquired.

On part of industry, which is categorised into factories and artisanship, President Museveni revealed that Uganda now has 8,617 Factories that employ 829,668 people.

“Factories are flooding in.  The only slowing factor has been the corruption of some parasites that have been asking for bribes to give the entrepreneurs land or licences.  Otherwise, the potential is huge. Additionally, we need to harmonize with our people working in the factories,” he said.

“I have set up 18 Skilling Hubs in the whole country.  These skilling hubs deal with carpentry, metal work, shoe making, motor mechanics, etc. I have directed the State House Comptroller (SHC), to expand the spectrum of the skills to include textile technology, ceramics, ICT, etc. This is in addition to the Technical Colleges in the country.  On the side of the capital after getting the skills, there is the Emyooga money.  We are also ready for any other ideas as to how we can empower the skilled youth after their training.”

On the services sector, the President said that the government was working towards disciplining some aspects of the sector, including assisting, for instance, the musicians to record their songs and also protecting their innovation by Copyright Law.

“The ICT sector is a new sector, but many of the ICT graduates are being absorbed into this sector. It is now employing 2.3 million people (both direct and indirect jobs).  It will, however, grow more when our people implement BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) – which means that you, for instance, set up book-keeping operations in Kampala, but you provide those services to companies in the USA or Canada and send the work over our Internet and you are paid here.”

President Museveni further assured Ugandans of the government’s commitment to put an end to corruption.

“Those who have allowed themselves to soil their contribution, have only themselves to blame.  As I said, recently, the corrupt are the minority and it is those who have access to power and public money and they use that access to be corrupt at the expense of the majority who are the victims.  It is, however, easy to trace these parasites and smoke them out. Keep tuned on this channel,” he cautioned.

On the issue of regional integration, President Museveni said the process is very vital for a country like Uganda because it helps people to create prosperity through the wider market it provides for their goods and services.

“Some of the Ugandan businesspeople cite the non-tariff barriers practiced by other countries.  In the early years of our Government, Mzee Moi, at one time, closed the border, but I rejected the arguments for retaliation.  Today, Uganda’s exports to Kenya are either equal to our imports from there or, sometimes, they are higher.  Rationality cannot be ignored indefinitely.  We shall continue discussing with our EAC Partners and, I am sure, we shall end up with a real common market, free of non-tariff barriers because those barriers hurt the wanainchi of all our countries,” he explained.

In the same address, President Museveni informed Ugandans that the government is continuing to destroy the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) terrorists from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) using, mainly, air-attacks, because they are faster and can reach everywhere.

“In desperation, the terrorists have been trying to send squads into Uganda to kill unarmed civilians and plant bombs.  They are able to do this because the border is u unclosable – it is long and has many crossing points, many of them in the bush. Besides, we do not want to close the border, because we shall disrupt the lives of the brother peoples of Congo and Uganda.  Apart from destroying the source by attacking those criminals in Congo, therefore, the other correct answer is thorough intelligence and internal mobilisation,” he said.

“The group of Njovu – Kamusu of 10 that entered from Congo some few months ago, has now remained with 3 people, if not two. Njovu was captured, Kamusu was killed two days ago and the others were killed in the different engagements.  They are now sending bombers to kill our Bazukulu that have taken up umalaya because they live in ghettos where, sometimes, there are no cameras.”

President Museveni appealed to Ugandans to be vigilant and that they should ask for electronic Identity Cards issued by NIRA from people they find suspicious.

“Bazukulu, anybody approaching you and wanting you to keep his bag or package, insist that he opens it.  If you see anything suspicious, such as a mobile telephone in the middle of the package, call the Police. All Hotel and Lodge owners to insist on seeing electronic identity cards of everybody and record them.  We are hitting them so hard.  They will soon run out of people to send for bombing. In the meantime, vigilance.”

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