By President Museveni
The people below the poverty line in 1986 were above 56%. The people below the poverty line today are 21.4%.
That is why, therefore, the NRM insists on waking up all the Ugandans so that they become part of the money economy.
The sectors of the modern economy are four and Uganda has potential for all of them. They are as follows: commercial agriculture, industries, services (hotels, banks, tourism, professional services- (medical, legal, accounting and auditing, engineering services, pastor-hood etc. etc.); and ICT (Business outsourcing – BPOs.
Today, we have 4,026 factories, employing a total of 600,000 people; 8,200 companies in the services sector, employing a total of 1.2m persons; a total of 1.2m commercial farmers – employing about 7.8m persons in farming and a total of 2,000 ICT companies employing 3m people (direct and indirect). Yet, all these actors are only scraping the surface of our potential.
In the past, we could not exploit this potential because we did not have the basics –part of the 10 strategic bottlenecks. In particular, we did not have electricity, the roads and the railways.
We are now in the process of solving the problem of electricity. We have enough electricity now and we are continuing to generate more electricity and to make it cheaper for manufacturers.
The main roads are now good but good roads are for passengers, not for cargo. The answer to cargo is the railway transport and water-transport. The cost of electricity per unit has been US cents 8-9. I intend to bring it to US cents 5 per unit for manufacturers, big or small.
The cost of transporting a container of 40 feet to Mombasa is currently $ 3500. With the standard gauge railway, the cost will be $.1,500 per container.
That will leave us with the cost of money. The Government has decided to go through the UDB to handle the issues of the cost of money for agriculture, manufacturing, some aspects of services (tourism and hotels) and some aspects of ICT (BPOs, for instance).
Since the NRM has already addressed the other bottlenecks such as ideological disorientation, a weak state and market integration, we are now able to move decisively on building an integrated and self sustaining economy that is independent.
Here independence has never meant isolation. It means participation in the World economy on an equal and comparative basis.
We, therefore, need two crucial areas of emphasis: a more investor friendly atmosphere – free of delays and corruption of public officials; and more wealth funds to convert our idle youth to owners of the small businesses across the four sectors. Let us cut out wasteful expenditure in the form of hastily created new Districts, Sub-counties, Town Councils etc; foreign travels, etc.
The two ways – enabling FDI to come into Uganda more easily and empowering our youth with capital that does not exceed the interest rate of 12% per annum, will enable us to get rid of the remaining strategic bottlenecks: the export of unprocessed raw-materials, the under-development of agriculture and under-development of the services sector.
With these, Uganda will become a middle income country in the very short run and a first World country in the medium term.
Otherwise the future of Uganda is bright. We are already on the move in terms of building an integrated economy that is self-sustaining and independent. Look at the cement sector with building industry, the cotton sector with the recovering textile industry, the wood industry with the furniture manufacturing, the food industry with the tourism sector, the milk sector with the milk factories, the tea and the tea factories, the fish with the fish factories.
We just need to expand and deepen this movement integration. We have already started. Recently, with new industrial parks, the tempo is increasing. I am quite happy with the momentum.
Editor’s note: slightly edited Speech by President Museveni at the opening of NRM MPs retreat, 2019. Read full speech HERE