New Vision (Kampala)

17 September 2011

Libya: Museveni Explains Stand On Libya, Economy

Photo: Evan Schneider/UN
Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser (on screens), president of the UN General Assembly, chairs the meeting which accepted the new government's credentials.

ON Friday, President Yoweri Museveni met the New Vision and Monitor media managers at State House Nakasero and explained a number of issues relating to the African Union stand on Libya, Uganda's economy, Makerere University and the large cost of running government, writes Barbara Kaija.

The Libyan National Transitional Council will not be recognised by the African Union (AU) if they do not form an inclusive government, President Yoweri Museveni has said.

Museveni clarified that the AU did not make a U-turn on Libya as reported in some sections of the media.

"We said we would recognise them (the Libyan National Transitional Council) if they formed an all-inclusive government. That is what we said in Addis Ababa and that is what we repeated in Pretoria this week."

Museveni said the AU had problems with the NATO position. "In order to maintain peace, we said we cannot accept the Libyan council to occupy Libya's seat in the AU unless they form an all-inclusive government. In Pretoria, we had their letter saying they would form an all-inclusive government."

He dismissed press reports that the AU had dumped ousted Libyan Leader Mummar Gadaffi.

Museveni said the AU had maintained its stand and indeed the South African newspapers had reported that accurately.

"Where is the U-turn? Why do you manipulate the public with misleading headlines? Why don't you report the facts?" he asked.

More Ugandans have joined middle class

The President said the Ugandan economy is good because the consumer demand is growing as more Ugandans join the middle class.

On the contrary, he said, the economy in Europe is in problems because the demand is going down.

"This is historical because the Europeans have been over consuming at our expense, while we in Africa have been under consuming. It is now changing. A middle class is growing and when a middle class grows it consumes more," he said.

He added that in the past Europeans were over consuming at our expense.

"They got used to buying cheap goods from Africa and other developing countries.

These raw materials are now expensive because of competing demand from the emerging economies. Therefore, consumption in Europe is constrained. The economies in Europe are in big problems."

As a result, he said, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are to convene a conference to discuss how to help Europe. "The problems of Europe are under consumption and the fact that cheap goods are no longer available."

On the contrary in Uganda, prices are rising because demand is growing but production has remained low.

"We need to produce enough goods for people to buy. I normally tell people that to solve the production problem they should not delay any investor- solve all their issues quickly so that more is produced.

Whether it is sugar or steel or electricity, do not delay investments. Solve things quickly because demand is growing."

He added: "There are problems, because of the slow response to demand and prices are still high, but if we correct these mistakes, which are not NRM mistakes, we shall increase investment. These mistakes were by the other groups opposed to investment and now we are facing problems because of slow response to the growing demand on consumption."

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