6 June 2018

Uganda: Museveni - Investment in Roads, Electricity Now Bearing Fruit

Photo: The Observer
President Yoweri Museveni delivers his State of the Nation address.

President Yoweri Museveni has said a political decision he undertook together with the 6th parliament to focus investment in road construction and power generation has spurred economic growth of the country to admirable levels.

According to Museveni in the coming financial year 2018/2019, Uganda's growth will be at 5.8% and this will rise even further to 7% per annum in financial year 2019/2020.

Delivering his State of the Nation Address at the International Conference Centre at Kampala Serena hotel, Museveni said he's not surprised just as Harvard University of USA predicted that the country's economic growth will be among the fastest in the world by 2026. What surprised him, Museveni said, was was that Uganda would be the first or the second fastest growing economy in the whole world.

Museveni said that that growth is all because of the decision taken in 2001 to invest more in roads and electricity. Tarmacked roads, he said are not a luxury but a necessity for farmers to transport their produce to markets just as electricity is important for industries. He boasted that almost all roads to all corners of Uganda are tarmacked.

"Many people do not know how the economy grows although many pass themselves out as experts. These investments in the roads and in electricity along the earlier decision of strengthening the army are beginning to result in the resumption of our usual high growth rates which had been interfered with by the shortage of electricity and more recently by the drought," Museveni said.

He said, though the agriculture sector is growing slowly, efforts are underway to boost it through irrigation hence a number of irrigation schemes are to be worked on in the coming financial year which commences July 1.

Museveni however supported encroachment on wetlands by constructing more factories on grounds that such factories create job opportunities to youths compared to the farming of yams or cassava in those wetlands.

"Yes they are building in swamps, that is a problem but a factory in the swamp is better than cassava. I totally agree that [the environment] should be conserved. It shouldn't have happened but Katonda [God] gyali [is there]," Museveni added.

Contradicting himself immediately on the same issue, Museveni said "These factories and service companies employ 600,000 people for factories and 1.2m [people] for the service companies. Indeed as you drive on Gulu road as I did recently and Jinja road you will see quite a number of these new factories that have been built recently," Museveni said.


Museveni said he will set up an Inspection Unit under State House and it will be responsible for monitoring implementation of government programmes. The unit he said will be comprised of James Tweheyo, Martha Asiimwe and Sister Akiror. And since the Inspector General of Government seems not be working, Museveni urged Ugandans to report corruption cases to this unit.

"What happened to the IGG? Why don't the victims of corruption report those incidents to the office of the IGG?

That was the purpose of that office; to protect the public from corrupt officials; to protect the investors against corrupt officials. The IGG should reflect on this. Are her staff credible? Why does the public not trust that institution? We need answers." said Museveni.

As she invited the president to deliver his speech, speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga expressed dismay that parliament did not perform as expected in its second year, which affected the business which the legislators were supposed to dispose of.

She attributed the unfinished business to the prolonged consultation period by the MPs on the Constitutional Amendment Bill No. 2 famously known as age limit bill which lifted the presidential age limits.

The consultation on the age limit bill stretched from September 2017 when the motion was tabled to December 20th when the bill was passed into law.

Among other reasons that contributed to the poor performance according to Kadaga, was lack of cooperation amongst the MPs on their respective committees and the absenteeism of the ministers from the parliament sittings that have always seen the proceedings extended due to lack of answers from responsible ministers.

Kadaga however warned that her office was in the process of naming and shaming legislators and ministers that keep dodging parliament work for which they were elected (legislators) and appointed (ministers) into those positions.

"Parliament is not just an address; it is a place [where] the work of people must be handled effectively. Since the first and second session, a number of ministers and members have been warned but effective this season- the third session the process of naming and shaming is about to commence and that is the last resort," Kadaga said.

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