New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Museveni Vows to Fight Corruption in 2013

President Yoweri Museveni has vowed that in the new year, he will deal with the political saboteurs and corrupt officials, whom he said, were frustrating economic growth.

In his New Year message, the President attributed the slow economic growth during 2012 to the European economic crisis, political saboteurs and corrupt officials.

"In this coming year, the patriots of Uganda will have to confront these two saboteurs: the myopic political, administrative group and the corrupt officials, who delay our industrialisation vision. No modern country can prosper by agriculture alone. I have told you this many times. These delays for industrial projects can spell a disaster for Uganda if they are not resolutely resisted and defeated," Museveni said

"Where will the youth get jobs from? How shall we expand the tax base beyond where it is now? How shall we expand export earnings so that we defend the shilling from depreciation as it did last year to sh2,900 per dollar?" the President asked.

Citing the Lugazi sugar expansion project and the Amuru sugar project, the President noted that a number of Ugandan Indians, who have been active in manufacturing, face many politically generated obstacles in implementing industrial projects.

He also quoted an Egyptian investor, who is building an abattoir, saying he has wasted a lot of time on the account of some government officials.

"You, therefore, end up with a triple headed problem: Indigenous Ugandans do not invest in manufacturing because they lack the knowledge and the money, while the Ugandan Indians are delayed by politically motivated schemes. Foreign investors are either delayed or deterred by corrupt or indifferent government officials," he said.

Museveni said last year, the country experienced high inflation rate due to missed opportunities in the lucrative regional export opportunities as well as feeding the internal market.

He noted that the years 2011 and 2012 were full of economic challenges, but also of economic opportunities for Uganda.

"Inflation went up to 30%. Was this bad for Uganda? Not at all. It was only bad because some of the Ugandan leaders (political and administrative) have delayed our industrialisation plan," the President said.

He attributed the challenges partly to the global crisis in Europe and the USA, leading to a 50% drop in export.

Europe and USA are the biggest consumers of Ugandan raw materials and source of tourists.

"Europeans are no longer buying as many of our products as they used to because they do not have the money," Museveni said.

He, however, said Uganda is lucky that regional demand in the Great Lakes was growing rapidly before the insecurity in eastern Congo interfered with the flow of business.

The President noted that despite the peace created by NRM, Ugandans have not fully exploited the advantages.

This, he said, was mainly due to internal indiscipline especially by some politicians as well as other elements in the society.

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