Uganda: Stop Pampering Foreign Investors, Says Suruma

17 January 2019

Kampala — Makerere University Chancellor, Prof Ezra Suruma, has told government to stop pampering foreign investors at the expense of Ugandans, saying the behaviour has perpetuated unemployment in the country.

"I do not believe that there is any serious government in the world that expects that foreigners will solve its employment problems. Foreigners can only contribute, but they cannot substitute domestic investment and enterprise," Prof Suruma said yesterday while presiding over Makerere's 69th graduation ceremony at the university main campus in Kampala.

He was responding to the graduates' concerns about the increasing prevalence of unemployment in the country.

Prof Suruma said it is critical for government to ensure local investors are supported instead of always inviting foreigners who cannot solve Uganda's employment problems.

"The second and first growing economy in the world is a planned economy. The idea that government withdraws from investing and supporting domestic enterprises and that foreign investments will lead to full employment is, in my humble opinion, a cruel joke," Prof Suruma added.

He said performance of the Chinese economy has demonstrated beyond doubt that the private enterprises require support from government.

He asked government to finance domestic enterprises to ensure the local investors have access to capital that will enable them compete on the local and global market.

The chancellor urged the government to review the privatisation policies if Uganda is to effectively achieve job creation and cautioned that fighting unemployment cannot be left to only the private sector.

He said as Uganda moves towards oil production, the resource management should be owned by Ugandans so that the country does not depend on foreigners to create full employment.

Construction of Mak wall

The university Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, said they are optimistic government will this time round fulfil its pledge to construct the security perimeter wall around the university whose works stalled.

While speaking on the first day of the four-day graduation on Tuesday, President Museveni reiterated the government's commitment to take over construction of the perimeter wall after the Makerere Convocation and management failed to complete the project. Prof Nawangwe said the wall will ensure security for both staff and students.

This is not the first time President Museveni pledges to take over construction of Makerere perimeter wall.

In 2014, he pledged Shs1 billion for the construction of the wall, but the money has never been delivered.

Prof Nawangwe also revealed that the university will issue new guidelines for guild elections in a bid to check student hooliganism during the campaigns.

The Makerere guild elections are slated for March.

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